(Posted Tue. Jul 9th, 2013)
July 9: Last week, a large Colombian importer, with the guidance of the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, networked with U.S. grains exporters in Texas, Alabama and Louisiana resulting in the purchase of more than 787,000 bushels of U.S. corn. This was the importer’s first purchase of U.S. corn in more than two years. With seven plants in Colombia, this importer is the largest animal feed manufacturer in Colombia and, thus, the relationship could lead to an important increase in U.S. corn exports to the country.
In 2008, U.S. corn imports accounted for 80 percent of the Colombian corn market. The delay in ratification of the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement contributed to a decline in U.S. market share. By 2011, U.S. corn accounted for only 21 percent of that market.
NCGA, along with a variety of other organizations, pushed vigorously for passage of the FTA and, in late 2011, this important trade agreement was ratified by the U.S. Congress.
For the past few years, the Colombian importer purchased grain from other South American countries but, as the quality and supply reliability were did not meet his expectations, he now can return to purchasing U.S. corn without paying tariffs in place prior to FTA implementation. As the FTA implementation continues, NCGA expects that more stories of increased market access benefitting U.S. corn farmers will arise.
“This purchase clearly illustrates both why NCGA’s work in promoting trade agreements benefits U.S. corn farmers and the effectiveness of its work in collaboration with the U.S. Grains Council,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, a farmer from Wisconsin. “Together, NCGA and USGC can affect real change by promoting policies that open markets and building the relationships that capitalize on said policies. While this work may seem ephemeral, the impact on corn demand has very concrete benefits for farmers.”