November 14, 2003
Taiwan To Buy 10 Million MT of US Feed Grains By 2005
Reaffirming the longstanding friendship and growing trade relationship between Taiwan and the United States, officials from Taiwan's feed grains industry yesterday committed to purchase up to 10 million metric tons of U.S. corn, barley and grain sorghum by the end of 2005.
As part of the 2003 Taiwan Agricultural Goodwill Mission to the United States, Taiwan Feed Industry Association Supervisor Chung-lang Hsiao and U.S. Grains Council Chairman Terry Wolf signed a letter of intent during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, September 24. In the letter, Taiwan agreed to buy between 7.5 and 10 million metric tons of U.S. feed grains, valued at up to $1.25 billion.
Support by U.S. grain producers and agribusinesses, as well as market development funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has fueled the growth of the Taiwanese feed grains market.
"When the U.S. Grains Council opened its office in Taiwan in 1973, the country was importing about one million metric tons of feed grains each year, mostly from Thailand," explained Wolf, a corn producer from Homer, Ill. "Since then, Taiwan has grown to be the United States' third largest grain customer. Today, Taiwanese feed grain imports approach five million tons every year - virtually all from the United States.
"The growth in exports to Taiwan is due in part to state barley, corn and sorghum check-off boards and leading U.S. agribusinesses investing in the Council's efforts to build relationships and provide technical assistance and customer service to the Taiwanese feed grains sector. As a result, Taiwan is now among the most significant and loyal customers of U.S. grains," Wolf continued.
While the Council continues to develop feed demand in Taiwan, Wolf noted that the organization is also focused on promoting new food and industrial uses for U.S. grains.
"Recently, we've worked together on production of Yankee Lager, an American-style beer brewed with U.S. barley. Taiwan is also emerging as a major market for corn-based polylactide (PLA) resin, used to make biodegradable packaging. In addition, we're seeing growing demand for value-enhanced grains, particularly high-oil corn. And there's growing interest in Taiwan in cleaner-burning, grain-based ethanol fuel," he said.
"Today's agreement and this year's Taiwan Agricultural Goodwill Mission celebrate our past and present relationship, but also symbolizes the potential for this relationship to benefit both countries long into the future," Wolf concluded.
After leaving Washington, 10 members representing corn and soybeans from the delegation traveled to North Carolina, Indiana and Nebraska for field visits and meetings with local organizations and officials. While in Nebraska, the delegation plans to sign a letter of intent committing to a purchase of 54,000 tons of Nebraskan corn.