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US Grain Trade Shows Benefits from Free Trade

25 March 2014
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

COLOMBIA - In the second year of the CTPA, US rice exports exceeded 82.5 TMT with an additional 24 TMT beyond quota.

In 2013, US corn trade values were up 129 per cent to USD171 million, but only filled 23 per cent of the 2.2 MMT TRQ (for yellow corn). Low corn prices not only helped US corn competitiveness, but also worked against MERCOSUR grain trade, where duties are conversely linked to prices.

Price competitiveness, combined with slow 2013 deliveries arriving after January 1, 2014, indicate that the 2.3 MMT TRQ for yellow corn will likely be filled well before the 2014 US corn harvest. Also, the United States recovered its position of preference as the primary source of wheat for Colombian importers.

In marketing year (MY) 2013/2014, (yellow and white) corn production in Colombia is estimated to remain stagnant at 1.7 MMT with production not likely to change for MY 2014/2015. However, white corn area planted and yields will likely fluctuate upward due to the higher domestic prices for white versus yellow corn.

White corn is primarily for food consumption and prices are more favorable to yellow corn, which is almost entirely destined for animal feed. Corn imports are expected to increase by 145 TMT, up three per cent in MY 2014/2015 to 3.7 MMT as feed raw material demand strengthens and local production remains unchanged.

Lower US corn prices will lead to a gradual recovery of market share at the expense of MERCOSUR competitors. Colombian rice production is expected to remain unchanged at 1.3 MMT in MY 2013/2014, as lower rice yields have neutralized any increases in planted area.

Continued contraband rice trade from eastern and southern borders, estimated to be from 300-500 TMT, continues to threaten rice farmer livelihoods, crowding out more and more domestic production. In 2014, the Government of Colombia (GOC) will not likely engage rice millers on better prices paid to growers, which could lead to further declines in planted area.

Also in 2014, US rice exports will easily fill the 86 TMT TRQ with additional shipments beyond quota. US wheat will be able to take advantage of a marginal increase in Colombian wheat imports in 2014 at the expense of MERCOSUR, although Canada will continue to be a strong competitor.

Further Reading

You can view the USDA GAIN: Colombia Grain and Feed Annual 2014 report by clicking here.

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