U.S. Soy Grower Leaders Participate in Regional Trade Exchange in Spain

United Soybean Board (USB) chairman Lewis Bainbridge and American Soybean Board (ASA) and USSEC director Stan Born traveled to Barcelona, Spain to take part in the EU / Middle East North Africa (MENA) Regional Trade Exchange on November 29 and 30.
This keystone event provided a vital opportunity to connect top EU / MENA purchasers with U.S. exporters and U.S. grower leaders with the goal of promoting U.S. Soy, developing or further enhancing relationships, and leading to a preference for U.S. Soy, while increasing purchases. The EU/MENA region represents the second largest global export soy market, trailing only China.
Modeled after the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange and other successful U.S. Soy buyers’ conferences, this conference featured a large amount of networking time to forge strong relationships between buyers and sellers. U.S. Soy crushers and buyers learned about topics such as key research, markets, crop quality, sustainability, and the overall U.S. Soy Advantage. Events included a networking reception, plus sessions on U.S. Soy quality; logistics; the most recent WASDE report; and an outlook from Mr. Bainbridge and Mr. Born. The U.S. Soy Quality report, created in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, was unveiled at this event.
The goal of the Regional Trade Exchange was to connect buyers and sellers to encourage a longer term trading program that extends beyond the typical seasonality. The conference was part of USSEC’s larger China mitigation project aimed to spur demand for U.S. soybeans in markets other than China. With the recent tariffs implemented on U.S. soybeans by China, the U.S. Soy industry is increasing emphasis in other markets to help alleviate the lost revenue from its largest soy customer.
The conference aimed to help traders and crushers to improve their buying techniques, increase confidence in making buying decisions for U.S. Soy by gaining an understanding of the favorable characteristics of U.S. soy products (reliability, sustainability, value) and trade infrastructure (contacts with viable U.S. exporters, U.S. risk management opportunities, logistics, U.S. government export incentive programs. The conference will introduce participants to supply/demand, quality and sustainability.
Participants include major feed millers and poultry integrators, traders, poultry producers and refiners.
Prior to the conference, the USSEC delegation visited the Spanish port of Tarragona and attended the welcome reception and dinner on November 28.

At the port of Tarragona

USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA Brent Babb and Mr. Bainbridge opened the conference, introducing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Ken Isley, who spoke about markets for U.S. agriculture.

Administrator Isley speaks at the U.S. Soy Regional Trade Exchange - EU/MENA in Barcelona, Spain.

The first morning’s sessions also covered global soy markets, the economics of production, and an update on China. The afternoon’s agenda focused on sustainable soy with a presentation from Mr. Born. Alex Döring, Secretary General of the European Federation of Feed Industry (FEFAC) and Mr. Babb also spoke on the topic of sustainability, which is of great importance to the EU/MENA markets.
U.S. Soy exporters then participated in networking roundtables, facilitated by USSEC CEO Jim Sutter. The evening was capped with a gala dinner.
The second day of the conference began with information about maximizing the value of U.S. Soy in animal feed, facilitated by USSEC consultants Dr. Gonzalo Mateos of the University of Madrid and Dr. Craig Coon from the University of Arkansas.
The focus shifted to the shift in trade flows in global markets. Robert Bresnahan, President, Trilateral, spoke about global supply and demand and Jay O’Neil talked about the impact of global transport and logistics.
Information about poultry and livestock and marketing trends followed with a Rabobank presentation about food and agribusiness research. Dr. Matteo Crovetto of the University of Milan, spoke about the environmental sustainability of animal agriculture.
After lunch, USSEC consultant Mousa Wakileh – MENA facilitated a MENA customer panel, followed by a Europe customer panel, facilitated by USSEC consultant – EU Lola Herrera.
The conference’s final presentation, “Global Economy – Where Do We Go From Here” was given by Sergio Dettmer of FC Stone.
According to a recent Purdue University study, the greatest potential for growth under the current environment is in the EU. While this is being realized incrementally, huge potential remains.
EU/MENA year-to-date imports are 10 million tons, with beans up 41 percent and meal up 82 percent. This year, two of the three largest country increases globally were in this region – the Netherlands and Egypt. Three of the top five meal importing countries also fall in the region – Morocco, Spain, and Italy.