Philippines milling team to focus on trade

by World Grain Staff
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ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — A team of senior executives from the Philippine flour milling industry will be in the U.S. Sept. 11-18 to meet with U.S. policy makers about flour import pricing and to learn more about the 2011 U.S. soft white (SW), hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat crops.

U.S Wheat Associates (USW) is sponsoring this trade team with support from state wheat commissions in Oregon and North Dakota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service, and private exporters.

Efforts by some countries to bolster domestic wheat production and their domestic milling industry is encouraging to flour exports to the Philippines and other South Asian countries at prices below the local fair market prices. Philippine millers and USW believe these practices distort trade, may violate established trade agreement commitments and may jeopardize long-term food security in the Philippines.

“The U.S. wheat industry has worked with Philippine flour millers and wheat foods producers for the past 50 years to help improve flour and end-product quality,” said USW Assistant Regional Director for South Asia Joe Sowers, who will join the milling executives in the U.S. “In marketing year 2010-11, more than 90% of their wheat imports came from the U.S.”

The Philippines was the second largest importer of both hard red spring (HRS) and soft white (SW) with a value of nearly $530 million in 2010-11, so the displacement of locally produced flour also represents a direct loss for U.S. wheat producers.

USW has arranged meetings with government policy makers and international trade organizations in Washington, D.C., so the milling executives can share their concerns and discuss ways to work together toward a more equitable trading environment.

In Portland, Oregon, U.S., representatives from USW, the Oregon Wheat Commission, the Wheat Marketing Center and the Pacific Grain Exporters Association will share good news with the Philippine millers about excellent yield and quality in the new SW crop. Supply and quality will also be on the agenda in meetings about the HRS and HRW crops with the North Dakota Wheat Commission and with North Dakota State University cereal scientists in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S.
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