July 29, 2013
Japan still undecided on resuming US white wheat purchases
Japan is still in the process of deciding whether to resume purchasing US western white wheat.
The official Japanese position is that no decision has yet been made, said Steve Mercer, vice president of communications for US Wheat Associates, which works to develop and maintain international markets for US wheat producers.
Mercer referenced comments US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently made that Japan may resume purchases in August.
The wheat industry is encouraged by discussions with representatives of Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) during recent meetings in the US, Mercer said.
Western white wheat is a blend of soft white wheat and at least 10% club wheat, both classes of wheat primarily grown in the Pacific Northwest.
Japan suspended western white wheat imports after the USDA announced in May that a genetically engineered, glyphosate-resistant variety was discovered in an Oregon field last spring.
According to USDA, the incident appears to be isolated to one field on one farm.
USDA indicated they would share what they learned in their investigation with officials in Japan. That's the next step, Mercer said.
"Like the USDA investigation, MAFF's efforts to find a positive way forward are taking place internally and we look forward to seeing the results of both as they are reported," he said.