ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The U.S. wheat industry said on March 15 that it is very pleased to see the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement (FTA) implemented. U.S. wheat farmers face effective competition for Korea’s milling wheat import market and the agreement immediately eliminates the bound tariff on U.S. wheat.

“While that tariff has not been a huge impediment, removing it will help U.S. producers compete with other wheat exporters and help Korean flour millers spend less to buy our wheat,” said Randy Suess, a wheat farmer from Colfax, Washington, U.S., and chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW).

South Korea is consistently a top 10 market for U.S. wheat and imported more than 1.6 million tonnes of U.S. wheat valued at approximately $468 million in marketing year 2010-11.

“Our industry is uniquely trade-dependent, with about half of our production moving to overseas markets each year," said Erik Younggren, a wheat farmer from Hallock, Minnesota, U.S., and president of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). “Hopefully, the results from the U.S.-Korea FTA will encourage implementation of bilateral agreements with Colombia and Panama that were ratified last year.”

U.S. wheat producers look forward to implementation of the FTAs with Colombia and Panama as soon as possible so that customers there may also benefit from zero tariffs.