United Soybean Board (USB) director Cory Atkins of Delaware was part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs Ted McKinney’s trade mission to Japan from June 11 to 15. With more than 100 delegates traveling, this trade mission was the largest ever organized by USDA.
Japan is the third largest country market for U.S. soybeans. With a market share of 70 percent, the country imports over 7.7 million bushels of soybeans from the U.S. During the trade mission, Mr. Atkins and USSEC staff had the opportunity for a private meeting to discuss trade issues impacting U.S. exports to Japan and North Asia. Specific issues discussed were pending GMO labeling regulation revisions in Japan and the ongoing threats of tariffs to be applied on U.S. soybean imports into China.
On the second day of the trade mission, Undersecretary McKinney visited Kikkoman, a prominent end user of U.S. soybeans. The Kikkoman plant visited by Undersecretary McKinney has been making soy sauce on the same site for over 400 years and uses 955,000 bushels of U.S. soybeans annually. While the delegation was visiting the plant, containers of U.S. soybeans were actually being delivered.
Mr. Atkins also visited Nishin Olio’s crush/refining/bottling plant in Isogo. Nishin Olio is the second largest crusher of U.S. soybeans in Japan. Additionally, Mr. Atkins visited the Kewpie mayonnaise plant in Kobe. Kewpie is the largest purchaser of soybean oil in Japan.