December 6, 2010

Taiwan shows producers long-standing market for U.S. corn, DDGS

The role of the 2010 Corn Mission in Taiwan was to maintain important relationships with key traders, users and buyers of U.S. corn and DDGS. Additional, it demonstrated to the corn producers from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri of the long-standing market that remains for corn in the small country.

Since having a presence in Taiwan for 37 years, the U.S. Grain Council’s (USGC) hard work at gaining market share has proved successful in gaining the fourth largest market of U.S. corn in the world.

The mission in Taiwan started with a briefing on the market by USGC/Taiwan staff, as well as an update from Jeffrey Hesse, Chief of Agricultural Affairs of the American Institute in Taiwan. As Taiwan is a very large market for U.S. corn, the focus of USGC/Taiwan is primarily market defense, with strategic elements including maintaining and increasing U.S. sales, livestock production and feed consumption and DDGS education and promotion.

The group was able to have a large seminar meeting with traders, buyers and users of U.S. corn and DDGS. Mike Callahan, USGC senior director of international operations, gave an overview of the 2010 U.S. corn crop quality and what they could expect to see coming in the corn and DDGS in Taiwan. The group was very glad to hear of this positive report yet did have questions on if the corn exported from certain areas/states were better quality, and would like to see similar data from the last five years.

A trip outside of Taipei took the delegation to Good Flag Biotechnology Corporation in Taoyuan to tour the manufacturing facility where corn-plastic, PLA (polylactic acid) cups and containers are made. The PLA resin is imported to Taiwan from the NatureWorks facility in Blair, Neb., then fabricated in the facility to large rolls of plastic sheets. They form the cups and containers from these rolls and customize the cups with specific printing for their customers – some of which are domestic, but companies in the U.S. are their largest customer.

On Saturday, the group traveled to Fwu Sow Industry – one of the major feed mills in Taiwan that imports U.S. corn and DDGS for their livestock and pet animal feeds. Fwu Sow has a close relationship with USGC and valued the producers’ remarks about the higher quality 2010 corn crop. We also visited the Shin Show Hog Farm but were not allowed to go inside the barns of 3,000 head due to biosecurity issues. It was still worthwhile learning about the hog feeds this farmer utilizes with U.S. corn and DDGS, and how he markets his pork to a niche audience.

The Taiwan traders, buyers and users of U.S. corn were very cordial to the delegation, and were positive about the 2010 corn crop because of the good working relationship with USGC/Taiwan. Some recent market share has been lost to countries like Argentina and Brazil, but the U.S. corn’s quality is far superior and the delegation confirming the 2010 crop’s quality was important.

“Taiwan has been a stable, but significant market for U.S. corn,” said John Whaley, director on the Indiana Corn Marketing Board. “Even though some recent market share has been lost, they are still importing the bulk of their corn from the U.S. With the good quality 2010 corn crop from the U.S., some of that lost market should be gained back.”

Continue catching up with the delegation through pictures on Flickr.

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