Tag Archives: exports

U.S. DDGS Exports Also Higher
Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst, Renewable Fuels Assoc.

American exports of ethanol accelerated in March to 133.0 million gallons (mg), the second-largest volume in a year and up 31% from February’s dip. Exports to China spiked from 4.7 mg to 48.3 mg for the country’s second-largest monthly imports of American ethanol on record (and narrowly missing the April 2016 high). Similarly, shipments to Canada accelerated by 85% to a four-month high of 34.2 mg, and India’s imports were up 13% over February to 16.8 mg. These three countries received three-fourths of all ethanol shipped in March. Other substantial markets include South Korea (7.1 mg, -67%), Brazil (5.3 mg, -32%), the Philippines (4.6 mg, -5%), and Peru (4.5 mg, +3%). Total U.S. ethanol exports for the first three months of the year totaled 399.3 mg, or 18% less than last year at this time.

For the third consecutive month, the U.S. did not log any meaningful volumes of foreign ethanol imports (6,160 gallons shipped from Canada in March). This marks the smallest volume of total first quarter imports in four years.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—rebounded by 13% in March to 882,553 metric tons (mt). Two-thirds of U.S. exports were destined for five markets, with the remaining volumes distributed among 31 countries. Shipments to Mexico rebuilt following a sizeable slump in February with 174,928 mt crossing the border. This is equivalent to 20% of total U.S. exports in March and a 42% increase over the prior month. Shipments to Vietnam nearly doubled to a seven-month high of 130,985 mt. Exports to South Korea of 100,771 mt were 24% higher and Turkey’s imports of 84,787 mt saw an 88% improvement. Indonesia imported 80,822 mt, a slight (0.5%) decline from February. Other larger trade partners include Thailand (54,151 mt), Canada (36,827 mt), Japan (28,417 mt), Colombia (25,640 mt), and Morocco (23,331 mt). Total DDGS exports for Q1 2021 totaled 2.58 million mt, which tracks 6% behind last year.



As the container shipping crisis continues its crippling effect on U.S. exporters, the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance joined nearly 300 agricultural and forest product associations and companies – including several SSGA members – this week in signing on to a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, urging immediate intervention to remedy the situation.

“We need action now,” the letter states, “not additional studies.”

SSGA agrees, as U.S. exporters and their access to foreign markets must be protected.

The letter requests that the Department of Transportation assist the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) “in expediting its enforcement options” and “consider its existing authorities” to determine how it can assist U.S. exporters and the ag producers they serve in their transportation needs.

For more than six months, U.S. ag exporters, including SSGA members who supply Identity Preserved soya and specialty grains for food manufacture, have suffered under unreasonable practices by ocean carriers. These practices include the declining of U.S. agricultural and other exports in favor of sending empty containers back overseas in order to keep up with the massive demand for consumer imports.

The imbalance has caused congestion, delays and even cancelation at the ports, and carriers have failed to provide accurate notice of arrival, departure and loading times. Carriers have also imposed unreasonable, punitive financial penalties on exporters, who, through no fault of their own, have missed loading windows. This is in violation of detention and demurrage guidelines set forth by the FMC. SSGA and other associations have previously supported FMC’s investigation into these practices.

It has been estimated that $1.5 billion in ag exports has been lost during this crisis, which has come on the heels of a pandemic that has also severely injured the market.

With no sign of the crisis letting up in the immediate future, SSGA is hopeful that Secretary Buttigieg will act upon this increasingly dire situation. Our members, allies and partners at the Agriculture Transportation Coalition have specific measures to propose and are requesting the opportunity to present them.



Sales to China continue to vastly outpace those to other U.S. corn and sorghum markets. Yet, behind the headlines, a half-dozen other countries and several emerging markets are also proving to be strong buyers of U.S. grains.

The U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) Senior Director of Global Programs Cary Sifferath recently discussed what countries are setting a strong buying pace and and how the Council is working to develop and access a variety of overseas markets for U.S. producers.

“You never know when China may change things up; just as fast as they turn the buying on, they can shut things down for political or other reasons,” Sifferath said. “So, we’re always looking for and developing new markets, whether that’s six or 12 months out or even longer-term. It’s about what can we do to create new markets five or even eight years from now, even.”

The Council works to overcome market share issues and continue to develop new markets in other locations around the world.

“Vietnam, which is already a very big corn importer globally, imports about 11 million tons of corn a year or about 433 million bushels,” Sifferath said. “Egypt is another big corn importer, about 10 million tons or 394 million bushels a year. Even in the rest of North Africa, we’ve seen Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, where we’ve worked for numerous years, come back into buying U.S. corn here lately. “

In addition to Mexico, which has been the number one U.S. corn export market for the last four years and has trade preferences under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), countries with which the United States has free trade agreements are also big buyers, according to Sifferath.

“All of the markets in the CAFTA-DR – the Central America Free Trade Agreement plus the Dominican Republic – are strong buyers this year. You’re looking at Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, plus the Dominican Republic. I cluster that whole Central America market together. It’s a very significant market, worth about 4-to-4.5 million tons, or about 158 to 177 million bushels.

“Peru, where we also have a free trade agreement, used to be a top-five market for us. It kind of dropped off over the last year and this year, in part because Peru has been hit very hard by COVID-19, although they’re starting to come back from that now,” Sifferath added.

While trade dynamics change from year to year and markets fluctuate, the Council continues to look for ways to fulfill its mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives across a diverse set of buyers.



To combat rising pork prices and stabilize supplies, the Philippine government announced today it will provide more market access for pork imports. Securing better access to the Philippines market has been a top, long-term trade priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

“Since 2019, the Philippines has been battling African swine fever (ASF), and as a result, domestic production has declined, supplies have tightened, and pork prices have spiked,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “While we are saddened by the spread of ASF in the Philippines, we appreciate the opportunity to send more high-quality U.S. pork to ease the shortage and the spike in prices.”

Under today’s announcement, beginning April 7, tariffs for imported pork under the increased minimum access volume (MAV) of 404,210 metric tons (MT) would be reduced from 30 percent to five percent for the next three months, and then 10 percent thereafter. Tariffs for imported pork above the MAV would be reduced from 40 percent to 15 percent for the next three months, and then increase to 20 percent thereafter. The reductions would be in effect for one year.

This announcement comes on the heels of NPPC’s meeting with the Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez. NPPC has been pressing both the U.S. and Philippines governments to lower pork import tariffs since ASF outbreaks began in the Philippines.

From January-December 2020, the U.S. exported 49,660 MT of pork worth $121 million to the country. The expanded market access is expected to generate significantly more U.S. pork exports to the country. With a population of 109 million and pork as the preferred protein of choice, pork consumption will continue to increase as the economy grows.

The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing economic region of the world with significant opportunities for U.S. pork exports. NPPC will continue to advocate for the United States to rejoin the CPTPP trade agreement.