The U.S. Grains Council sees great opportunity for U.S. corn in China. Currently, Grains Council President and CEO Tom Dorr says the focus is on better understanding China's trade policy and the country's actual need for corn.
"It's clear that China is exceeding their ability to produce all the corn they need but they are still very focused on being food self-sufficient," Dorr said. "USDA has now acknowledged that China will probably import five million tons of corn this year. That is up from two million tons. We don't see that trend changing; we don't suggest that it will be easy but I do believe if we're sensitive to what they want we can create a long-term sustainable relationship."
Dorr says the Grains Council creates long-term markets for the U.S. by facilitating capacity building in markets around the globe. By building livestock, dairy or poultry industries he says they can create a demand base where demand will ultimately outpace production.
"We think that is very, very much the case in China," Dorr said. "If you look back probably about five years ago, China was consuming about 130 to 135 million tons of corn a year," Dorr said. "Right now it looks like they will consume 195 to 205 million tons of corn each year. We believe that their long term growth in demand will be exponential relative to what we've seen in the last year or two."
Dorr admits the U.S. faces a lot of competition and barriers to trade in the Chinese market. That's why he says the Grains Council is on the ground building relationships and addressing the challenges that remain. A group of U.S. corn leaders recently returned from a corn mission through China, Japan and Vietnam that was led by USGC. Participants saw firsthand current market conditions and met overseas buyers and government officials involved in agricultural policy.