Meeting Competition USGC Focus in 2011

The U.S. Grains Council’s international operations staff recently gathered in two locations, Amsterdam and Hong Kong, to discuss and determine plans for the future of the Council. Addressing competition in each market was an overlying theme as USGC staff drafted the 2011 Unified Export Strategy (UES). The UES is the Council’s strategic plan for developing international markets for U.S. grains and co-products and is submitted to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service to spur federal matching funds.

“Harmonizing the grain quality inspection standards practiced in the United States with Tunisia would level the playing field and provide the United States better market access,� said Chris Corry, USGC senior director of international operations. Tunisia does not currently impose any type of grain inspection at its borders, basing its import needs strictly on price and availability. This increases the risk of importing poor quality grain, which trickles down to the expense of the local producers. “The Council will work with the Tunisian government to help them develop grain standards at its borders,� he said. “And this is just one example of how the Council identifies constraints in each particular market and determines if the feasibility of fixing them would enhance the U.S. market share. This is what we do.�

For Asia, proactive communications will help to market the U.S. advantage. “We heard we may lose some Japan customers based on the 2009 corn quality. However, if we are more timely and transparent with the proper information, customers will be more likely to continue their purchasing needs from the United States. We need to show and reassure our clients that we are at the ready to respond to their needs and concerns,� said Mike Callahan, USGC senior director of international operations. The 2011 UES draft will be discussed and approved by Council members at the 7th International Marketing Conference and 50th Annual Membership Meeting next month. Click here for audio.

About the U.S. Grains Council

The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 13 key markets and representatives in an additional 15 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is online at www.grains.org.