March 5, 2004



China Wheat Buyers In Talks With US Wheat Group

Officials from China's government grain-buying agency are scheduled to meet with the North Dakota Wheat Commission Friday, the commission said Thursday - a day after the China agency expressed at a ceremony in Pierre, S.D., a willingness to purchase at least three million metric tons or 110 million bushels of U.S. wheat.
The vice president of China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Import and Export Corporation, Cofco, has requested working sessions for the purpose of becoming more informed about the marketing and handling of hard red spring wheat from North Dakota, the North Dakota Wheat Commission said.
Wheat Commission marketing professionals and quality and transportation experts from North Dakota State University will brief the delegation Friday morning, the commission said. Topics of discussion include the quality attributes of HRS, its supply and demand outlook and distribution network. Managers of some area grain elevators will also attend, the commission said.
In the afternoon, the trade team will drive to Gladstone, N.D., to visit the CHS Southwest Grain Division terminal - a large regional elevator that ships wheat to Pacific Northwest ports, the commission said.
Cofco's latest indication of China's desire to improve wheat trade with the U.S. comes after a buying mission completed two weeks ago. Following the trip, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed sales of about 900,000 tons to China, which were mostly HRS wheat and some white wheat.
With less than a quarter of the marketing year left, China's 2003-04 U.S. wheat purchases now tally 1.375 million tons compared to just 78,800 tons for the same time last year. However, only 200,300 tons of the 2003-04 China business had been shipped as of Thursday.

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