ASC Conducts Inaugural Regional Trade Exchange Conference
USSEC conducted its first trade exchange conference in the Asia Subcontinent (ASC) region, ASC TE2016, in Kathmandu, Nepal from November 8 – 10. About 125 participants increased their trade and technical knowledge of U.S. Soy. This event kicks off a new strategy that allows the ASC region to address emerging trade for soy from the U.S. In 2015/16, the ASC region accounted for imports of 1.24 million metric tons (MMT) of U.S. Soy products valued at $489 million.
Approximately 90 potential soy buyers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India registered for the event and interacted with buyers. The event provided ample interaction time for buyers and sellers, which helped build more contacts and stronger relationships.
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) / U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in New Delhi and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) provided support for ASC TE2016. This partnership helped leverage resources and knowledge, adding value for all stakeholders.
Dr. Keshav Prasad Premi, Director General of Department of Livestock, Nepal, opened the conference, expressing full support for the U.S. Soy industry in his country. Jonn Slette, Senior Attaché for Agricultural Affairs; India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka; U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, provided an overview of U.S. ag and regional trade. USSEC CEO Jim Sutter talked to the audience about why and how ASC TE2016 had evolved and explained its objectives and outcomes for the future. USSEC Chairman Jim Miller and United Soybean Board (USB) Director Bill Beam educated the audience about sustainable soy production on their farms and how the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) is used in other parts of the world. These sessions helped the audience to understand soy production and sourcing. USGC Regional Director Kevin Roepke spoke about USGC’s functions and provided an overview of U.S grain and corn trade.
Kevin Riesberg, Senior Vice President and Commodity Risk Manager for R.J. O’Brien & Associates, talked about the market outlook and expectations for world oil seeds and grain fundamentals. USSEC Deputy Regional Representative – ASC P.E. Vijay Anand discussed the latest on soy market and trade updates in the ASC region and the importance of the ASC region as an emerging market for U.S Soy. Emily French, Managing Director at ConciliAgra, spoke about global grain and oilseed market prices and the outlook during the world’s current record production and demand situation.
Twelve soy exporters participated in speed meetings, which allowed each to spend quality contact time with ASC buyers and potential buyers. Twelve groups comprised of five to six buyers interacted with each exporter for fifteen minutes, giving them a total of three hours for each exporter spread over two days. USSEC and USGC members managed these sessions to ensure that they were successful and stayed focused on U.S. Soy and grain.
Sam Bonilla, President/Owner – Rich-Port Consulting LLC, educated the ASC audience on best commercial practices used in purchasing soy and grain products. Nutritionist / Consultant, GANS Inc. Jan van Eys discussed the various ways in which U.S. Soy can be differentiated from soy of other origins, highlighting the comparative value that users derive by using U.S. Soy in their poultry and aquaculture operations. Bob Vanderloo, Sorghum Product Line Manager, Cargill, provided market updates on Sorghum while USGC Regional Representative Amit Sachdev presented market updates and overviews on corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). John d’Ancona, Divisional Director and Senior Dry Cargo Analyst, ClarksonsPlatou Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore, gave a presentation on the transportation and logistics of U.S. Soy and corn to the ASC region. Both days’ presentations covered topics of interest to the ASC region and participants expressed satisfaction on the event’s content.
Mr. Sutter, USSEC Regional Lead – ASC Pam Helmsing, and Mr. Roepke led the panel discussion based on buyers’ Q&A, answering various technical or trade-related questions. The open forum allowed all participants to receive clarification and more in-depth information. In the process of answering questions, the experts also provided recommendations. Advice given by international panel experts in response to Mr. Sutter’s questions included: always be prepared for competition; consider the cost of replacement; have a game plan well ahead of time; differentiate and express uniqueness; dig deep into trade contracts and their specifics; embrace technology quickly; constantly push the industry forward; focus on long-term growth; and keep contacts alive.
On the conference’s final day, two workshops focused on more specific discussions on import-export education for the ASC participants, since the region is still relatively new to trade processes. The knowledge and experience of all international experts contributed to this session. Dr. van Eys dug deeper into the details of soy nutrition for poultry and aquaculture use.
Ms. Helmsing thanked all participants and organizers for their efforts, which helped transform the conference into a successful trade platform for the ASC region. ASC will continue ASC TE as an annual trade event, which is expected to provide great benefits to the U.S. Soy industry.