February 2, 2004



China Wheat Delegation Firms Up Schedule For US Visit


A wheat trade delegation from China's China National Cereals Oils and Foodstuff Import & Export Corp., or Cofco, is firming up plans to visit the U.S. in mid-February.


Officials from the U.S. Wheat Associates said the Chinese delegation is currently scheduled to visit with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and wheat trade groups in Washington D.C. on Feb. 17. and with wheat industry groups and exporters in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 20. A short stop is possible in Chicago during the two scheduled visits. The delegation then plans heads back to Beijing on Feb. 21.


Mingchen Zhou, chairman of Cofco, is expected to lead the delegation, accompanied by Xubo Yu, Cofco's vice president. Officials from the wheat division and others will also be on the team.


China has already stepped up its U.S. wheat buying this year. As of Jan. 22, China's total U.S. wheat purchases for the 2003-04 marketing year measured nearly 1.1 million metric tons, compared to just 66,000 tons for the same time last year. But so far less than 200,000 tons of the 2003-04 sales have been shipped to China, according to USDA data.


China has also purchased 810,000 tons of U.S. wheat for the 2004-05 marketing year, compared to none at this time last year.


Cofco's wheat division is China's sole state trading enterprise for wheat imports.

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