WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. – A Taiwanese delegation in Washington, D.C., U.S. this week will sign a letter of intent with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to purchase 5 million tonnes (197 million bushels) of U.S. corn and 500,000 tonnes of U.S. corn co-products valued at $1.23 billion by 2017 as part of the Taiwanese Agricultural Goodwill Mission. The letter is evidence of Taiwan’s commitment to strengthening trade ties and maintaining the well-established partnership between the U.S. and Taiwan, the USGC said on Sept. 14.

The USGC said Taiwan is an important buyer of U.S. agricultural products, especially U.S. corn. For the 2014-15 marketing year, Taiwan was the sixth largest market for U.S. corn, third largest market for U.S. barley and a top buyer of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a co-product of ethanol production that is a high-protein feed ingredient for livestock.

“The council has been involved in Taiwan for 42 years and has watched it grow into a steady, reliable buyer of U.S. coarse grains and co-products,” said Alan Tiemann, USGC chairman, who farms in Nebraska, U.S. “This mission helps maintain an open dialogue between U.S. and Taiwanese government officials, traders and end-users, which is key to maintaining a healthy trade relationship with this top buyer.”

While in Washington, members of the mission are scheduled to meet with the council, U.S. Wheat Associates, the U.S. Soybean Export Council, the North American Export Grain Association and the National Grain and Feed Association, as well as U.S. government officials. The mission delegates will also sign letters of intent to purchase U.S. wheat, soybeans and co-products with U.S. Wheat Associates and U.S. Soybean Export Council.

Following a signing ceremony at the U.S. Capitol complex on Sept. 16, members of the Taiwanese delegation will tour the U.S. Grain Belt to see farms and grain elevators firsthand. While in the Midwest, they will meet with government officials, farmers, agriculture groups and other important international organizations in Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota.

The biennial mission, which has been organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) since 1998, allows the Taiwanese participants to gain familiarity with U.S. coarse grains’ yield, production and quality. It also educates the delegation on the advantages of U.S. coarse grains and related co-products and reconfirms the U.S. commitment to being the long-term, reliable supplier of grains for their market.