SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is hosting members of a Taiwanese trade delegation in Springfield as part of a goodwill mission designed to further a long-standing trade relationship.
During a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Wednesday, the 17-member delegation expressed a desire to purchase Illinois grain in 2010 and 2011 by signing letters of intent with the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Soybean Association.
“Illinois agriculture is an export-dependant industry,” Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “We ship 40 percent of our grain out of the country and are grateful to the Taiwan Feed Industry Association and the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers not only for their business, but also for their long-standing friendship.”
In 2008, Taiwan was the top customer of agricultural products from Illinois with purchases of more than $955 million. Taiwan also ranked as the seventh-largest export market for U.S. agricultural products overall and the fourth-largest market for U.S. corn and soybeans.
“The sale of Illinois corn and corn products to the Taiwanese is great news for Illinois growers as we prepare to harvest another large corn crop,” Jim Rapp, Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, said. “Taiwan continues to be a valued customer while Illinois growers remain reliable producers of corn.”
“We thank Taiwan for their continued support of our industry and look forward to building our relationship with them,” Ron Moore, Illinois Soybean Association Chairman, added. “We realize that in the United States almost every other row of soybeans harvested is exported to countries like Taiwan and this in return creates a stronger market for Illinois famers’ soybeans.”
The Taiwan Feed Industry Group intends to purchase 7.7 million to 10.5 million metric tons (303 million to 413 million bushels) of U.S. corn and 0.5 million to 0.75 million MT of corn by-products. The Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers’ Association will buy between 3 million and 3.2 million MT (110 million and 118 million bushels) of U.S. soybeans. Combined, the two sales total an estimated $3.5 billion.
The agricultural mission from Taiwan is in central Illinois on a three-day visit. Members also are scheduled to meet with legislators and farm organizations during their trip to cultivate future opportunities for trade.