ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — Four executives of Colombia’s major flour, cookie and pasta groups, representing 50% of Colombia wheat imports, will visit the U.S. July 8-15 to tour the U.S. wheat supply chain from farm-to-port. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is sponsoring the team with assistance from Kansas Wheat Commission, the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee and the Oregon Wheat Commission.
“The U.S. traditionally supplies half of Colombian wheat imports, but competition from Canada and Argentina is strong,” said Osvaldo Seco, USW assistant regional director based in Santiago, Chile, who is traveling with the team. “Seeing the U.S. grain system from the farm to export facilities helps reinforce the quality, reliability and value of U.S. wheat.”
This is the first trade team visit by Colombian millers and bakers since the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement entered into force on May 15. The visit includes a dinner in Kansas recognizing the hard work by the Colombian milling and U.S. wheat industries to push for duty free access for U.S. wheat into Colombia. The United States traditionally supplies half of Colombian wheat imports, but sales in 2011-12 were down by nearly 50% due primarily to the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement that entered into force on Aug. 15, 2011, and duty free imports from Argentina.
Now that U.S. wheat competes on a level playing field with wheat from Canada, Argentina and other countries, activities like this trade team help USW reintroduce the quality, reliability and value of U.S. wheat. In addition to meeting with government and grain industry representatives in Kansas, team members will tour Federal Grain Inspection Service and other USDA quality labs and visit the grain export facilities.