ARLINGTON, Virginia — A Philippine trade team will travel coast to coast Oct. 19 to 27 to see this year’s U.S. wheat crop and discuss trade policy issues that are having detrimental effects on the Philippine milling industry and U.S. wheat exports.
The delegation includes the director of the Philippine Association of Flour Millers (PAFMIL) and key decision makers at three of the leading flour mills in the Philippines. While in Washington, DC, the team is scheduled to meet with U.S. government officials and grain industry organizations to discuss what PAFMIL and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) consider dumping of Turkish flour into the Philippine market.
“With 52 years of partnership, USW has maintained a long-term, almost familial, relationship with the Philippine milling and baking industry,” said Manila-based USW Assistant Regional Director Joe Sowers, who will accompany the team. “Bringing these team members together with policy experts within the U.S. government and allied organizations to discuss important issues and explore potential solutions ultimately benefits both U.S. wheat farmers and some of their best customers.”
Sowers added that meeting with the U.S. wheat industry is a highlight for the team. During stops in Oregon and North Dakota, team members will gather information on the soft white (SW), hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat crops. Participants will also discuss end-product functionality with public and private wheat breeders.
The Philippine trade team is sponsored in part by the Washington Grain Commission, North Dakota Wheat Commission and Montana Wheat & Barley Committee in addition to funding from market development programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW also collaborated with the Oregon Wheat Commission on this team.
USW (initially its legacy organization Western Wheat Associates) has maintained an office in the Philippines – as well as relationships with industry leaders – since 1961. Since that time, the Philippines increased wheat imports from 200,000 metric tons in 1961, to nearly 2 million metric tons with a U.S. market share that exceeded 90 percent of milling wheat imports in 2012/13. Today, the Philippines is the second largest importer of U.S. SW and HRS wheat in the world and imports more wheat than any other U.S. agricultural product.
USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.