Coordinated Efforts Lead To Tariff Reduction On U.S. Corn In Vietnam

Vietnam was the Southeast Asia region’s largest importer of U.S. corn during the MY 2020/2021, importing roughly 517 TMT (20.35 million bushels) despite a five percent import tariff. However, U.S. corn has faced competition in the Vietnamese market, with only a three percent market share in an 11 million metric ton (MMT) import market.

Seeing significant interest in U.S.-origin corn – and significant long-term growth potential – the U.S. Grains Council prioritized reducing barriers to U.S. agricultural products and ensuring a level playing field with the Black Sea and ASEAN-origin (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) products that typically flow into Vietnam.

The Council concluded that reducing the import tariff for U.S. products, including corn and its co-products, would allow the U.S. to better compete with other countries that enjoy preferential trade agreements with Vietnam.

In pursuit of tariff reduction, the Council worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA/FAS) to conduct activities including meeting with Vietnamese government officials, writing policy white papers, and providing market evidence to the benefit of reducing tariffs. All of this work culminated in the reduction of multiple tariff barriers for U.S. agricultural products.

The result of the November 2021 revision of its Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rates – which reduced import tariffs for corn from all origins from five percent to two percent beginning Dec. 30, 2021 – could be an additional demand of up to 1 million metric tons of U.S. corn to Vietnam.

The Council’s efforts and coordination culminated in a September engagement between T&T Group – a Vietnamese feed grain importer – and multiple members of the Council – DeLong Company and Valero – in New York City that produced two memorandums of understanding. Additionally, the Council’s President and CEO Ryan LeGrand spoke with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc about lowering import tariffs for corn and ethanol.

During the MOU signing, one Vietnamese delegation member signed purchase
agreements with a Council member to buy 200 TMT (four million bushels) of corn and 60 TMT of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Another member purchased 1.25 MMT of U.S. corn, DDGS, soybean meal, and feed wheat. The Council invested $5,000 of USDA Market Access Program (MAP) funds to support this program with confirmed purchases of DDGS of 60 TMT valued at $14.7 million dollars and 200 TMT of corn valued at $50 million. The total of $64.7 million resulted in a return on investment (ROI) of $12,940 per $1 of MAP funds invested.