Trade Agreements

The Importance Of Trade Agreements

Free trade agreement (FTA) partners purchased half of all exports of feed grains in all forms (GIAF) in 2016/2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade data and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).

The United States currently has FTAs with 20 countries in place. These countries represent important customers for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, ethanol, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten feed/meal and other co-products.

GIAF exports to these countries have increased 26 percent over the last 10 marketing years, setting a new record in 2016/2017 at 57.4 million metric tons (2.26 billion in bushel equivalent), a 14 percent increase year-over-year.

This all-time high represents roughly 50 percent of the total 114 million tons (4.48 billion in bushel equivalent) of GIAF exports. The spread between trade to FTA partners compared to non-FTA partners has also shifted dramatically over the last 10 marketing years, further demonstrating the importance of having trade agreements in place to farmers.

These 20 countries collectively represent approximately 10 percent of global domestic product (GDP). Negotiating additional trade agreements with countries accounting for a larger share of total GDP will be important to continuing to expand market access and exports for U.S. coarse grains and co-products, as has been successfully done with existing FTA partners.

The Council represents the U.S. feed grains industry in international trade negotiations in which the United States participates.

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