December 19, 2003


China Wheat Buyers To Plan US Trip


Representatives of the U.S. Wheat Associates group in Beijing are now working with China's main wheat-buying agency, COFCO, to settle on a new date for a delegation to visit the U.S.


Dawn Forsythe, spokeswoman for the U.S. group, said COFCO has assured U.S. Wheat Associates, which promotes U.S. wheat exports, "that they will advise us as soon as they have rescheduled dates."


Delegations representing Chinese wheat and cotton buyers were originally scheduled to arrive in the U.S. on Dec. 1., but those visits were called off in mid-November after the U.S. decided to restrict some Chinese textile exports.


Forsythe said, "From the beginning (the Chinese wheat buyers) have said this was postponed, not cancelled."


U.S. Department of Agriculture spokewoman Julie Quick said last week that USDA expects Chinese wheat and cotton buying delegations to visit the U.S. "this year or early next year."


Forsythe has stressed, though, that the Chinese do not need to visit to buy U.S. wheat and said that now is the opportune time for Chinese to buy because the market is "very competitive right now."


On Dec. 8, several U.S. senators urged President George Bush to press China to buy more U.S. wheat. They said China, despite earlier promises, has failed to open its market to U.S. wheat exporters. The senators, including Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said China should be buying as much as 8.5 million metric tons of U.S. wheat per year.


China imported 169,349 metric tons of U.S. wheat in 2002, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service.

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