Export Exchange 2014, the premier international trade conference focused on the export of U.S. coarse grains and ethanol co-products, will host trade teams from more than 30 countries, including key buyers and end-users from Japan —the largest export market for U.S. corn—, in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 20-22. Importers from 11 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe also plan to attend the event.
“We are bringing in 180 customers from around the world to this event to meet with their U.S. suppliers,” said U.S. Grains Council president and chief executive officer Tom Sleight. “Right now the list is up to 80 companies alone that are expected, and that list grows every day.”
Export Exchange, co-hosted by U.S. Grains Council and Renewable Fuels Association, is held every two years to expand and develop export markets. The 2012 event attracted buying teams from 33 countries and generated tens of millions of dollars in sales. Attendance at this year’s event is expected to set a new record, creating more opportunities for U.S. suppliers to connect with buyers and build their businesses.
“The whole idea of Export Exchange 2014 is to maximize networking opportunities so business can be done,” Sleight said. “It’s where key contacts, both internationally and domestically, can come and meet the people they do business with on a daily basis.
The Japanese trade team, comprised of corn millers, compound feed millers, and traders, plans to attend the bi-annual conference to learn more about U.S. coarse grains and co-products while building strong relationships with U.S. suppliers.
“The presence of major U.S. coarse grain suppliers and agribusinesses will provide the Japanese opportunities to expand their business relationships with U.S. sellers,” said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan. “Personal relationships between the Japanese buyers and U.S. grain merchandisers are a vital ingredient to build business in this important market. Export Exchange will allow for these business relationships to grow.”
The Japanese participants have also expressed interest in receiving the latest information about the 2014 U.S. corn crop as well as developments in the U.S. barley, sorghum and corn co-product sectors, which will impact their trading relationships with U.S. suppliers and agribusinesses in 2015.
“Export Exchange gives our international attendees the chance to meet with people they already know and have been doing business with and a chance to meet the new, additional suppliers,” said Cary Sifferath, USGC’s regional director of the Middle East and North Africa.
Sifferath said some companies in that region have been buying U.S. corn or dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) on a long-term basis, but for other companies, the Export Exchange will gives them a chance to get introduced to new suppliers in the United States.
As demand for poultry, dairy and other food products expand in the Middle East and North Africa regions, Sifferath explained that imports of feed grains are needed to grow the countries’ livestock industries. The USGC said political stabilization in many countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, has also led to increasing imports.
Over the last year, U.S. corn imports into the Middle East and North Africa have rebounded, said USGC. More than 4.2 million metric tons (163.8 million bushels) of U.S. corn have been sold to the region in the 2013/2014 marketing year, while only 274,000 tons (10.8 million bushels) were sold in 2012/2013.