Floyd Gaibler, director of trade policy and biotechnology, USGC, told us:
“From a trade standpoint, in 2020, we’d like to see a more stable trade environment – we’re hopeful that the administration will achieve an agreement with China and allow our products – sorghum, ethanol, dried distillers grains, and, to a lesser extent, corn - into that market,” he told us.
Other hoped-for progress in trade includes the ratification of the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico (USMCA) and potentially an agreement with the UK following Brexit, he said.
Another market of interest for trade expansion is India, Gaibler reported. “The US government is going through extensive discussions with India on important trade issues, [and is] trying to get access for US dried distillers’ grains (DDGS),” he added.
“The best way is [establishing] formal trade agreements, but we have other efforts going on, and they provide some access that we can build on,” he said of USGC expansion plans.
Along with trade missions, the USGC is looking to set up an office in India in 2020, he said. A country director focused on India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other surrounding markets has already been selected.
A greater push in Mynamar is also on the cards, while US grain expansion efforts are also underway in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, Gaibler said.
And the council is looking to stimulate demand for US sorghum in markets such as Saudi Arabia, Spain and South Korea.
As well as awaiting the pending ratification of the USMCA deal, Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), said the organization will be trying to tackle issues such as infrastructure challenges in the year ahead:
“We have an aging infrastructure, so what we need to do is continue to work on that, whether it’s dredging the lower part of the Mississippi, and dredging ports for removal of product or incoming product, whether it’s building more roads, and updating our rail system,” he said.