Considerable concern surrounded the export potential for U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) following an adverse trade policy decision by Vietnam, a historic top buyer, in December 2016. Instead, other countries in the region increased DDGS purchasing, the Vietnamese market re-opened and the region set a new record at 2.3 million metric tons in DDGS imports in 2016/2017.
New Zealand’s got milk - record amounts of milk production - and the country’s dairy industry is feeding triple the amount of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) year-over-year.
A team of New Zealand government officials recently traveled to Iowa, Louisiana and Washington, D.C., to study the U.S. grain export system and to explore ways to streamline their protocols to allow more U.S. corn exports to New Zealand.
While New Zealand is not traditionally a large market for U.S. corn, buyers from that country did purchase more than 142,000 metric tons (5.59 million bushels) of U.S. corn valued at $34 million during the 2014/2015 marketing year.
“The keys are planning and preparation,” said Jim Stitzlein, manager of market development for Consolidated Grain and Barge. “IP (identity preserved) programs can expand customer choice, but success can only come if there is a willingness to commit, and if interest is expressed early enough to allow coordination across the entire value chain.”
Stitzlein, a U.S. Grains Council delegate and Biotechnology Advisory Team member, noted that CGB for years has promoted both commodity and IP programs and has strengthened its relationships with growers willing to respond to the users’ needs. A recent example is a relatively new IP program created by CGB and its Japanese parent company, Zen-Noh, to source non-GM corn from the United States for Japan Corn Starch, a food manufacturer. The first shipments left Gulf ports in May.
Negotiators for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) convened this week in Vietnam with a focus on resolving technical issues prior to next week’s TPP Ministerial meeting in Singapore. Floyd Gaibler, U.S. Grain Council director of trade policy and biotechnology, was in Vietnam for industry meetings with chief negotiators for several countries including Vietnam, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Mexico.
“The sense of urgency is universal,” Gaibler said. “Negotiators from all countries are well aware of the clock. But at the same time, all of them recognize that there are some very difficult political decisions at stake, and that these will have to be resolved at the Ministerial level, or even higher.”