July 28, 2014

U.S. Grains meets in Nebraska this week; still covering issues with China, DDGS


This week, the U.S. Grains Council members are meeting for the 54th Annual Board of Delegates meeting in Omaha. The Council is a cooperative partner of the Nebraska Corn Board.

In Omaha, attendees will focus on emerging opportunities, competitive challenges, and the Council's work to increase U.S. market share. The Advisory Teams will review new developments that affect the Council's strategies and priorities around the world. Top speakers and insight from the Council's global program staff will keep you ahead of the curve on factors affecting export growth. Last but not least, the Council is a member-led organization, and this is the Council's annual business meeting, at which delegates will elect officers and board members, and adopt the budget for FY 2015.

E Energy Adams Distillers 2012 (2)But just because Council staff and Board are in Omaha for meetings, they are still working around the globe on opening up market barriers. One of those issues is China’s approval of new biotech certification requirements for distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS) by the Chinese import inspection authority.

The new requirements effectively call for a certificate from the point of origin - in the case of U.S. shipments, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - guaranteeing that the shipment is free of the biotech trait.

The mandate was made effective immediately, causing serious disruptions with existing DDGS trade and making future DDGS trade hard to achieve.

“China is asking for something that cannot be done. This certificate they’re asking for does not exist,” said Tom Sleight, USGC’s president and CEO.

“It’s time for China to look at and approve this trait,” Sleight said. “It’s been approved for commercialization in the United States since 2010, and it’s been approved by all importing countries, including the European Union, for quite some time. We think that the lack of approval of MIR 162 is becoming an undue impediment on trade.”

Yesterday, Chairman Schaaf sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, urging efforts of the U.S. government to intervene with China to halt this current regulatory sabotage of the DDGS trade with China. Approval has been pending in China for more than four years.

This matter is urgent for U.S. corn producers, DDGS exporters, and the ethanol industry as a whole, which is threatened with severe harm due to China’s action. Until this action, China was importing DDGS at a rate of 20,000 MT per day, which is the equivalent of 750 standard containers. The value of DDGS exports to China exceeded $1.6 billion in 2013 and this year was running well ahead of that pace prior to the current interruption.

The Council is doing all they can to work through this issue with China, and others around the world, to provide more markets for Nebraska and U.S. corn producers.

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