News: North Asia
USSEC collaborated with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and two Chinese partners, the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce & Animal By-products (CFNA) and Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) to sponsor the 2016 U.S.-China Grains & Oilseed Forum in Beijing on June 17. This joint event provided a platform for grains and oilseed industry representatives from China and the U.S. to discuss policy and market uncertainties, potential means to address them, and the implications for traders and end users in China.
Invited speakers included Joe Glauber, former chief economist of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); Song Hongyuan, director general of Research Institute of Rural Economy of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture; Mike Every, chief analyst from Rabobank International Asia; Zhang Jianping, director of Foreign Economies of the National Development and Reform Commission; Hanver Li, President of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co.; Jenny Campbell, chief analyst from DHF; and Bell Chen, senior vice President of Asia Division. USSEC member R.J. O’Brien presented a wide range of topics to about 140 participants from government agencies, research institutes, industry associations, and agribusiness companies from both the U.S. and China. The invited speakers interacted with the audience on many issues such as the global economic and financial situation, non-price support policies, corn and soybean market outlooks, and price risk management recommendations. The Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Embassy, Bruce Zanin, together with senior officials from the event’s co-sponsoring organizations, opened the program to support industries between the two countries in the discussion of improving trade relations for sustainable food security and food safety in China.
American Soybean Association (ASA) director Lawrence Sukalski provided opening remarks on behalf of the U.S. Soy industry, demonstrating U.S. Soy’s commitments to the development of China’s soybean value chain from soybean crushing to feed milling to animal production by long-term cooperation in technology transfer and marketing services.
Prior to the forum in Beijing, Mr. Sukalski was escorted by USSEC Country Director – China Xiaoping Zhang and USSEC Marketing Manager Claudia Chong on several field visits in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province and Beijing to further enhance the partnership with Yihai Kerry Group, CP Group and Dabeinong Feed Group.
USSEC conducted a series of activities in China to promote the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) from June 21-24. United Soybean Board (USB) director April Hemmes, a soybean farmer from Iowa, together with Dave White, former chief of Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Marty Matlock, professor at Arkansas University and Jaime Picarra, Secretary General of Portugal Feed Industry Association, traveled to China.
The delegation’s first stop was in Shanghai where USSEC conducted meetings with two key customers, Yihai Kerry Group, the largest crushing group in China, and Shanghai Bright Liangyou Group, a local state-owned crushing and refining group, to encourage them to participate in the SSAP certification program for their U.S. purchases. Both customers recognized the sustainability of U.S. soybean production and obtained SSAP certificates for U.S. soybean shipments. USSEC’s next effort will be to encourage customers to label their products with the “Sustainable U.S. Soy” logo.
USSEC also staged a workshop in Shanghai for about 20 regional feedmillers to introduce the U.S. SSAP system to downstream customers so that they are aware of the availability of such certificates, which could be of great value to their marketing strategy.
In Beijing, USSEC conducted a press conference for 12 mainstream media to introduce them to the SSAP. Participating reporters showed special interest in the legal system and the third party auditing practice.
As the last activity in the series of SSAP promotions, USSEC collaborated with the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce & Animal By-products (CFNA) to organize the U.S. – China Sustainable Soybean Trade on June 24 for 75 participants, including government agencies from the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the Ministry of Science & Technology (MOST); officials from industry associations such as China National Vegetable Oil Association (CNVOA), China Animal Agriculture Association (CAAA); China Feed Industry Association (CFIA), China National Food Industry Association (CNFIA), and China Soybean Industry Association (CSIA); researchers from the China Academy of Sciences (CAS) and China Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS); managers from seed companies such as Monsanto, Pioneer and Bayer; and executives from soybean importers and exporters such as COFCO, Chinatex, Jiusan, Yuanchen, Agrex and Cargill. Two Chinese speakers joined other speakers in presenting topics on the importance of sustainable soybean trade to China’s food security and food safety, the core value of sustainability to corporate social responsibility, the European Feed Manufacturers’ Association’s (FEFAC) business practice benchmarking SSAP in sourcing soy, the USDA’s long term efforts in conservation, continuous improvement by moving key performance indicators (KPIs), and U.S. growers’ production practices in conservation. Many participants made positive comments on the sustainability certification and several major soybean buyers told USSEC that they are going to request SSAP certificate on every shipment from the U.S.
Dave Cottrel, Director of U.S. Agricultural Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy, together with Bian Zhenhu, President of CFNA and Ms. Hemmes opened the seminar in Beijing while Katie Woody, Deputy Director of ATO Shanghai opened the workshop in Shanghai.
USSEC recently organized a tour trip to Shanghai, China to visit intensive pond aquaculture (IPA) sites.
The group of 40 visitors came from Egypt, India and Vietnam and attended an IPA seminar on the first day. Dr. Jesse Chappell of Auburn University introduced participants to the principle and concept of IPA. USSEC Aquaculture Program Manager Jim Zhang and USSEC Technical Manager Zhou Enhua provided information about China’s aquaculture industry and the implementation of IPA in China.
The first site visited was a state-owned farm, Maotian Wetland Eco-Agri Investment Co., Ltd., located to the west of Shanghai. Maotian has a total area of about 100 ha. In 2014, Maotian constructed two units of IPA cells in a four ha pond. After the first year’s economic success and efficiency (production increased 20 percent with a 75 percent lower labor cost), the farm manager added two more cells to each IPA unit to create five-cell units. Feed used is mainly USSEC-formulated feed with a U.S. Soy-optimized diet that contains more than 50 percent of U.S. Soy product.
On the second day, participants visited Yancheng Zheng Rong Fisheries Ecological Co., Ltd. This is a private company farm located in Hengji Town, Jianhu of Jiansu province and is currently the largest IPA farm with a 52-cell unit in a 27 ha pond, constructed in 2015. Due to the success of 2015 production (ROI 40 percent, 200 percent increase in production, lower labor cost, especially the flesh quality of fish living in a moving water environment), another IPA system is under construction with a 28-cell unit. In total, Yancheng Zheng Rong built 80 cells for its two IPA units.
A wrap-up meeting among the Vietnamese visitors was conducted by USSEC Vietnam. There was very positive feedback from the group. As a seafood export country, IPA technology could be a positive image for Vietnam to demonstrate to the export market.
USSEC hosted a soybean meal technical seminar, “Soybean Meal and Amino Acid Nutrition” in South Korea on June 9, targeting the technical and purchasing staffs of feed mills and integrators in the Korean swine and broiler sectors. The objective of the seminar was to discuss the importance of amino acid in swine and broiler growth performance and differentiate U.S. soybean meal from South American soybean meals based on amino acid profile.
USSEC hired four local speakers to discuss amino acid and energy requirement; the current and future market situation of the Korean swine industry; the composition of soybean meal and its associated amino acid profiles; and the amino acid digestibility of soybean meal. More than 60 industry participants attended the seminar and listened to USSEC’s message on the amino acid profile of soybean meal.
USSEC emphasized the amino acid profile of U.S. soybean meal in terms of total-, essential- and digestible amino acid, suggesting the target audiences request supplier data on amino acid profile of the soybean meals they supply and to evaluate the soybean meals on amino acid rather than crude protein.
A survey at the end of the seminar indicated that the target audiences agreed that they will consider amino acid profile and content at soybean meal purchasing (average score 8.24 out of 10 point scale); digestible amino acid and energy content in soybean meals are different by origin (8.55 out of 10); and U.S. soybean meal is strong in quality, transparent trade, stable supply and risk management (8.24 out of 10).
USSEC hosted a sustainability seminar, “New Call on the Food Supply and Demand Chain,” in Seoul, South Korea on June 8, targeting the crushing, soy food and feed industries. The objective of the seminar was to highlight what sustainability is, why sustainability matters and will matter to the food security and food safety of Korea, and how sustainability is being pursued within the global food supply chain. More than 40 people attended the seminar from the targeted industries, along with representatives from two newspapers specializing in agriculture and food.
Topics discussed included “Paris Weather Accord and its Ramifications on the Korean Food and Feed Industry,” “Background of the Call for Sustainability and Response from the Supply Chain,” and “Definition & Application of Sustainability from the Perspective of Agriculture.” Sajo Haepyo Corp. and Dr. Chung’s Food Co., Ltd. shared their understanding and application of sustainability in their businesses.
After the seminar, the two attending newspapers, Agriculture, Fisheries & Livestock News and the Food & Beverage News, published articles about the seminar and the resulting discussions on sustainability. The Agriculture, Fisheries & Livestock News will also publish a five series of articles on sustainability discussed at the seminar.
USSEC is raising the voice of science and sustainability in U.S. soybean trade to Taiwan while offering consumers the choice of both genetically modified organism (GMO) and non-GMO U.S. soybeans.
In 2014/2015, the United States ranked #1 with $669 million in total soybean sales to the island nation that depends on imports. Yet, consumer and political challenges to biotechnology confront U.S. soybean exports.
Starting in 2015, Taiwan required companies to label GMO soybeans and food products, such as soybean milk, tofu, and soybean protein products entering the country. By October 2015, street vendors and small stores had to label raw materials. Effective January 2016, businesses were obligated to label GMO food products such as soy sauce. Meanwhile, U.S. exporters must prove traceability and face more customs requirements and paperwork.
USSEC has used soybean checkoff and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Market Access Program (MAP) funds to assist U.S. exporters and assure Taiwan’s soy food companies and their customers that U.S. Soy is safe and sustainable. In 2015, USSEC established a website to share solutions with soy food processors on how to respond to consumer concerns regarding the safety of their soy foods that contain biotechnology ingredients.
MAP funds also assisted USSEC in convening a Biotech Soybean Education Forum in July 2015.
A post-forum survey showed that more than 80 percent of the participants became more confident in the safety of GMOs. These results form a foundation for USSEC’s MAP-funded 2016 sustainability education that faces an internet-based anti-GMO campaign. USSEC is working with Taiwanese companies that will add a new “Sustainable U.S. Soy” logo to their products.
Even with heightened regulatory requirements, Taiwan’s consumption of U.S. Soy remains high and stable, including through foods, such as tofu and soymilk. The USDA reports that in 2015, the U.S. exported 280 thousand metric tons (TMT) of soybeans for food utilization, including 26 TMT of non-GMO soybeans valued at $20 million USD.
In 2012, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) helped level the playing field for U.S. food-grade soybean sales when it established a tariff rate quota (TRQ).
USSEC has served as quarterback to U.S. soybean growers and exporters that now score a 98 percent utilization of this preferential TRQ with South Korea.
“USDA was instrumental in getting the quota established,” says United Soybean Board (USB) director Mark Caspers, who spoke about soy sustainability and quality at the April 2016 U.S. Food-Bean Buyers Conference and Tabletop Trade Show. “Today, I see it as a team effort to meet the quota. The quota doesn’t do us any good if we aren’t getting the tonnage in there.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Market Development (FMD) program has partnered with soybean checkoff investments in Korea. The FTA allows food companies to buy direct from U.S. exporters. USSEC’s role is to educate U.S. food-bean exporters on how to sell increasing amounts to the Korean market.
They have succeeded. The U.S. food-bean industry sold 250,400 metric tons (MT) valued at $158 million in 2015 alone. Since the FTA went into force between Korea and U.S. in 2012, U.S. market share in imported food-soybean market has increased from 58 percent in 2012 to 85 percent in 2015. The ratio of TRQ executed by the Korean soy food processors against allocations increased to 98 percent in 2015 from 95 percent in 2014, 60 percent in 2013 and 35 percent in 2012.
FMD 2015 funding also aided USSEC in bringing a Korean team of buyers to the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Minneapolis. To continue ramping up trade relationships, FMD funds contributed to USSEC hosting the April 2016 U.S. Food-Bean Buyers Conference and Tabletop Trade Show in Seoul that drew 38 purchasing staff and three top executives from Korea’s soy food processing industry.
Importantly, U.S. food-bean exporters, including the DeLong Company of Wisconsin, traveled to this USDA-supported conference. Austin DeLong, DeLong’s non-GMO marketing manager, says USSEC events have facilitated countless connections, noting that these buyer relationships allow his company to pay premiums to the southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northwestern Ohio soybean growers who sell to DeLong. The company has also hosted USSEC soybean trade teams that allowed them to show the benefits of U.S. Soy as well as the processing and handling of it.
Additionally, DeLong found value in the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP), which further differentiates U.S. Soy from that of other origins. In pursuit of sustainable soy, the largest trade organization of food-bean end-users, Korea Federation of Tofu Cooperatives (KFTC), decided to request U.S. SSAP certificates as one of the required documents for identity preserved food-bean imports from the U.S.
USSEC hosted a two-day soybean meal purchasing workshop in Busan, South Korea May 13 and 14, targeting feed industry purchasing staff. The objective of the workshop was to differentiate U.S. soybean meal from South American soybean meals based on amino acid profile.
Two local speakers discussed applying amino acid to purchasing decisions for soybean meal, along with the latest developments in the international financial and commodity markets. Workshops participants included 24 purchasing staff from 15 feed mills and the Korea Feed Association (KFA).
USSEC shared an amino acid analysis database on soybean meals imported into Korea with the target audiences. The database showed that U.S. soybean meal contained more amino acids in terms of total and essential amino acids. A survey given at the end of the workshop indicated how the audience considers the importance of amino acid at purchasing (6.6 on a 10 point scale); U.S. soybean meal has the advantage in quality, transparent trade, stable supply and risk management (8.0 on 10 point scale); and the U.S. is the most reliable source for soybean meal (8.4 on 10 point scale).
USSEC recently participated in the Chinese Cuisine Gourmet Exhibition organized by the Japan Association of Chinese Cuisine, held at Ceruleantower Hotel in Tokyo, in conjunction with the 11th National Chinese Cusine Contest for Young Cooks.
The Association of Chinese Cuisine, chaired by Chen Kenichi, known as Iron Chef, was established in 1978 for the purpose of research, the promotion of Chinese cuisine, and to educate cooks. Soy oil use in Chinese cuisine is the largest segment of single unmixed vegetable oil in Japan with a volume estimated at 70,000 metric tons (MT). According to the vegetable oil industry, 80 to 90 percent of vegetable oil used in Chinatown in Yokohama City used to be dominated by soy oil brands, thus some Chinese cooks still have a consistent preference of using soy oil for their cuisine. Therefore, USSEC Japan identified Chinese cooks as a good target to increase the awareness and preference of U.S. soy oil.
USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura and USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization (HU) Manager and Japan HU Director Masi Tateishi participated in the event by setting up a USSEC booth. Other exhibitors included soy processors such as Kikkoman, Nestle, Ajinomoto, Lee Kum Kee, Fuji Oil, and Kirin promoting soy sauces and soymilk, among other soy products.
Mr. Nishimura gave a presentation on U.S. Soy production and sustainability to disseminate information regarding the advantage and sustainability of U.S. Soy to about 40 Chinese cooks.
USSEC Japan participated in the 21st National Natto Competition Award Ceremony held at Seiyoken in Ueno, Tokyo in conjunction with the 62nd annual board meeting of the Japan Natto Cooperative Society Federation to present an award to the winner of 2016 Red River Valley U.S. Award.
The Red River Valley U.S. Award was established by USSEC in the U.S. Soybean Prize Category in the 2011 National Natto Competition in collaboration with the Northern Food Grade Soybean Association (NFGSA) to build the total brand value of U.S. Soybeans in the natto industry.
NFGSA vice chairman Bob Sinner presented the Red River Valley U.S. Award certificate and plaque to the winner. Jess Pauslon, Agricultural Attaché from the U.S. Embassy Tokyo, made a congratulatory speech during the ceremony highlighting the U.S. commitment to consistently supply U.S. soybeans to the Japanese natto industry, and praised the natto industry for making a concerted, enthusiastic effort to promote the value of natto.
The winner of the 6th Red River Valley U.S. Award was Sasanuma Goro Shoten, located in Ibaragi Prefecture. Company president Hiroshi Sasamuma has been printing his U.S. soybean farmer’s name and U.S. flag on his natto product for several years.
Current soy use for Japanese natto production per year is 126,000 metric tons (MT) and the natto retail market size in value is approximately $1.8 billion USD, a 14 percent increase between 2011 and 2014.
USSEC and FNGSA will continue to commit to the Japanese natto industry. U.S. Soy supplies 80 percent of the natto industry’s needs, strengthening sustainable U.S. Soy sales and preserving brand loyalty.
USSEC’s aquaculture efforts in China were recently featured in Rural Life Today magazine.
Rural Life Today visited the USSEC team in China for a feature about aquaculture and demand for U.S. Soy in that country. The articles focus on USSEC’s endeavors to build demand for U.S. Soy in China and a visit to a Shanghai fish farm and conversation with USSEC Program Manager – Aquaculture Jim Zhang about the demand for U.S. Soy in aquaculture.
Rural Life Today provides farming and agriculture news and information in print and online for 66 counties in Ohio and surrounding states. The periodical is an agricultural publication offering its readers coverage of agricultural news, events, the market, and agriculturally related profiles, columns and features. This publication is direct-mailed to over 60,000 households every month.
USSEC hosted a two-day soybean oil marketing roundtable in Busan, South Korea on April 29 and 30.
The objective of the roundtable was to determine opportunities for and threats to soybean oil and to discuss the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) as a tool to differentiate soybean oil produced from U.S. soybeans.
Participants included eight soybean purchasing, soybean oil production, and marketing staff from two local crushing companies and their association.
USSEC delivered information on the nutritional benefits of soybean oil with a focus on fatty acid profile; the changing dietary habits of Korean public consumers as family size shrinks; and soybean oil promotional activities in other regions of the world. Attendees also heard a presentation about the benefits of the SSAP in its marketing effort for soybean oil. Participants heard key messages including soybean oil’s health benefits, including an ideal ratio of poly- vs. mono- vs. saturated fatty acid (P:M:S) and omega 6 vs. omega 3 fatty acid (ω-6:ω-3). The home meal replacement (HMR) sector is potentially a promising market for soybean oil because of the increase of people who are eating out and ordering take out as family size shrinks.
USSEC hosted the 2016 U.S. Food-Bean Buyers Conference and Tabletop Trade Show on April 7 in Seoul, South Korea. The objective of the conference was to support U.S. food-bean exporters and Korean food-bean end-users / importers to take full advantage of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The conference was attended by 38 purchasing staff and 3 top executives from Korea’s soyfood processing industry; 10 USSEC member companies (Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, Inc.; CHS, Inc.; Clarkson Grain Co., Inc.; The DeLong Co., Ltd.; Global Processing Inc.; Natural Products, Inc.; SB&B Foods, Inc.; Soyko International, Inc.; and SunOpta, Inc.); United Soybean Board (USB) director Mark Caspers; USSEC Regional Director – North Asia Paul Burke; and USSEC Marketing Director – Human Nutrition/Oil Marypat Corbett.
Mr. Caspers gave a presentation, “U.S. Soy Supply – Assuring Sustainability and Quality IP Food Beans” at the conference. Other conference topics included the U.S. inland grain logistics; U.S. food grade soybean acreage insights; sustainable U.S. Soy; and Korea’s Special Act on Imported Food Safety. At the tabletop trade show, U.S. food-bean exporters displayed their food-bean samples on the tables and had individual meetings with Korean food-bean importers. Following the conference, 15 U.S. participants visited tofu plants at Dongwha Food Co., Ltd. and Busan port, which is the destination port for non-GM food-soybean import via container.
In 2013, USSEC shrimp production technology consultant Ken Corpron introduced the concept of Biofloc shrimp culture technology to China. The Biofloc shrimp culture technology uses biological control in water and generates the live microorganism to absorb the shrimp waste from the water.
In 2014, during a shrimp farming technical consulting service, Mr. Corpron provided details about Biofloc shrimp farming technology. The participants became very interested in this new method of shrimp production and asked for more information in order to try this new technology.
In October 2015, USSEC China’s aquaculture program organized an aqua study team to the U.S. and visited the RDM shrimp farm in Fowler, Indiana. Team members learned the operation’s techniques and RDM shared its experience. Two participants become “Biofloc pioneers” after returning to China and with technical help from USSEC, these pioneers finalized the operation procedure in the fall of 2015, doing a test run in the winter. Mr. Corpron came to China in March 2016 to visit three shrimp farms that had adopted and were very successful with the Bioflco shrimp culture technology, tripling their actual production.
Biofloc shrimp culture technology uses indoor facilities that provide quality water to the shrimp and increase production capacity significantly. Additionally, the indoor culture saves energy and allows winter shrimp production where traditional outdoor shrimp farming is not possible due to low water. The most important reason for USSEC to promote this technology is to increase the consumption of U.S. Soy as wintertime in China is the time when most U.S. Soy is acquired.
USSEC participated in the International Soybean Growers Alliance’s (ISGA) mission to Beijing, China from April 10-15.
Delegates included participants from Brazil, Canada and the U.S. U.S. soybean farmers were represented by USSEC chairman Laura Foell, USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, American Soybean Association (ASA) chairman Wade Cowan, and United Soybean Board (USB) vice chairman John Motter.
Over the course of the week the delegation learned about China’s economic and political environment, held various meetings with industry partners, and engaged with government officials regarding biotechnology approvals. The Mission concluded with a Soy Fair where representatives from the delegation, Ambassadors from Argentina, Canada, and Uruguay, and Ag Counselors from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Uruguay and the U.S. engaged in dialogue with more than 100 Key Opinion Leaders in China. The nature of the event was to talk about agriculture in the respective countries as well as the valuable role biotechnology plays. We are tracking the activity from the Soy Fair and will look forward to sharing the outcomes of the interaction.
China is a very important trading partner, importing over 78 million metric tons (2014/15) with nearly 30 million metric tons coming from the United States.
The 2016 China Feed Amino Acids and Feed Raw Material Implication Symposium (CFARIS) was conducted on March 30. USSEC is a sponsor of this activity, which draws over 300 feed industry professionals. The conference provides an excellent audience to convey the U.S. Soy industry’s messages about the superior nutritional value of U.S. soybean meal.
USSEC director and American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president Kevin Scott, a South Dakota soybean producer, participated in the conference. In addition to presenting information on the advantages of U.S. soybean meal, other topics presented to the Chinese feed industry included the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and the need for the Chinese feed industry to advocate on behalf of the safety of biotechnology in China.
Paul Burke, USSEC Regional Director – North Asia, made a presentation on China – U.S. Soy supply, quality, and opportunity outlook. The four topics in his presentation focused on supply and demand for global soybean and corn; how U.S. soybean products contain more available amino acid than those of other origins; the SSAP; and the advantage of biotechnology.
To differentiate U.S. soybean meal from competing soybean meals from other origins, USSEC hosted two regional roundtables in Taejon, South Korea on March 24 and 25.
The target audiences included 24 staff employees in charge of research and development, formulation, purchasing and marketing from integrators and feed mills in swine and broiler sectors near Taejon. USSEC provided information on quality-determining factors of soybean meal with a focus on amino acid and energy contents; and amino acid analysis data on soybean meals that were imported into Korea and analyzed by the Korea Feed Association (KFA). KFA’s quality analysis data and other published data indicated that U.S. soybean meal provided more amino acids than other countries’ soybean meals.
A survey given after the roundtables indicated that 96 percent of the participants regarded amino acid as one of the most important quality determining factors of soybean meal and 69 percent of the participants considered amino acid contents at soybean meal purchasing. USSEC will continue to emphasize the intrinsic value of U.S. soybean meal to the integrators and feed mills to differentiate U.S. soybean meal from other origin’s soybean meal.
USSEC Japan participated in the 21st National Natto Competition held in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, one of the areas hardest hit by the 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan. The competition was organized by Japan Natto Cooperative Society Federation to sponsor and demonstrate the commitment of the U.S. Soy industry for the Red River U.S. Award.
USSEC established the U.S. soybean prize category in the National Natto Competition in 2011 in collaboration with the Northern Food Grade Soybean Association (NFGSA). This year, a total of 194 natto products entered the competition, up 72 percent from 2010, a year before the U.S. Soy Industry begun sponsoring the event.
2016 team members included Jess Paulson, Agricultural Attache, U.S. Embassy -Tokyo; USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishumura; and Masi Tateishi, USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization (HU) Manager & Japan HU Director.
Mr. Paulson provided opening comments at the reception and press meeting in Japanese, including these highlights, “We understand Japanese growers produce high quality soybeans, however, as a result of our trade-partnership we have built with the Japanese natto industry, it’s a great honor for us to have the great relationships we have today and appreciate that the U.S. team can participate in this very important event.”
His speech was followed by Yoshihiro Noro, chairman of Japan Natto Cooperative Society Federation, who gave a welcome greeting. Mr. Noro expressed appreciation to the U.S. Soy Industry for its help with the relief effort for the 2011 Tohoku earthquake & tsunami. “We would like to extend our appreciation when the big earthquake and tsunami hit here in Tohoku in 2011, the U.S. Soybean Export Council reached out a hand of early assistance to the affected areas and it helped us to be able to deliver 79,000 servings of natto made with U.S. Soy to the shelters in Tohoku,” he stated.
Sasanuma Goro Shoten, located in Ibaragi Prefecture, was named winner of the 6th Red River Valley U.S. award. Hiroshi Sasanuma, president of Sasanuma Goro Shoten, said, “I am extremely happy to receive this award as I have been wanting this more than anything.”
USSEC and NFGSA will continue to commit to to supply more than 80 percent of Japan’s natto of U.S. Soy to that country’s industry, strengthening U.S. Soy sales and preserving customer loyalty to U.S. soybeans.
Next year’s Natto Competition will be held in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, the oldest city in Japan.
USSEC Japan recently organized a mini U.S. Soy oil roundtable inviting Japan Oilseed Processors Association (JOPA), Japan Oil & Fat Importers and Exporters Association (JOFIEA), and FAS Tokyo. The meeting included USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura; USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization (HU) Manager & Japan HU Director Masi Tateishi; Akira Saito, executive director of JOPA; Kazugumi Aramoto, secretary general of JOFIEA, David Miller, Agricultural Counselor, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Tokyo; Jess Paulsen, Agricultural Attaché, FAS Tokyo; and Yuichi Hayashi, Agricultural Specialist, FAS Tokyo.
The team discussed recent news from the vegetable oil market and USSEC’s ongoing soy oil activities, as well as recent soybean import. USSEC is pleased to announce that the U.S. soybean exports to Japan, the third largest market for U.S. Soy exports, increased 26.10 percent or 482,621 metric tons (MT) in 2015 from the previous year, while Japan’s total soybean import was up 414,714 MT or 14.70 percent.
According to Japan Trade statistics, the U.S. market share in Japan improved from 65.39 percent to 71.91 percent. This was due to Japanese soybean crush in 2015 increasing to 2,248,240 MT, up 12.9 percent or 256,000 MT, from 2014 because of a better crush margin of soybean than canola. As a result, Japanese soy oil production in 2015 increased to 431,884 MT, up 10.1 percent from 2014.
Increased identity preserved (IP) food grade soybean imports have also contributed to the increase, along with a greater U.S. market share over the last four to five years. Japan’s total IP food grade soybeans import was up 5.9 percent between 2011 and 2014. In 2012, 310,000 MT of U.S. IP food grade soybeans were exported to Japan, giving the U.S. a 43 percent market share. That number rose to 370,000 MT in 2014, giving the U.S. a 48 percent market share. Therefore, U.S. market share rose five percent during the two-year period from 2012 to 2014, and the volume of U.S. IP food grade soybean import increased 19.35 percent or 60,000 MT, and a further increase is estimated for 2015 statistics.
USSEC believes the increase in the U.S. market share is a combination of external environment and its accumulated steady efforts on creating a preference for U.S. Soy by building and maintaining relationships through trade servicing activities, especially the message of the U.S. commitment to remaining a stable, consistent and sustainable supplier, which has permeated and eased Japan’s past trade concerns on the capability of the U.S. to supply commodity soybeans as well as non-GMO IP food grade soybeans to Japan.
USSEC Japan will continue to work on U.S. Soy 0il promotion, which includes collaboration with JOPA to conduct a soy oil seminar as well as an industrial use seminar in FY16.