by Matthew Weaver
The nation of 97 million people imported more than 500,000 metric tons of U.S. hard red spring,
soft white, hard red winter and soft red winter wheat valued at $129 million in the 2020-2021
The government of Vietnam will eliminate a 3% tariff on U.S. wheat imports effective Dec. 30.
The Southeast Asia nation was the lone remaining Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership country applying a tariff on U.S. wheat imports but not on those from Canadian and Australian wheat.
"Oh, it's been a long-awaited victory for U.S. wheat," said Darren Padget, chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates, the overseas marketing arm for the industry. "All we ask is to be put on a level playing field with our competition."
Vietnam represents a "potential growth market" for the U.S., said Steve Mercer, vice president of communications at U.S. Wheat.
The nation of 97 million people imported more than 500,000 metric tons of U.S. hard red spring, soft white, hard red winter and soft red winter wheat valued at $129 million in the 2020-2021 marketing year. Vietnam imports an average of 4 million metric tons of wheat per year.
Padget and Mercer pointed to short wheat supplies and higher prices as a factor in elimination of the tariff.
Any tariff reduction will reduce the cost of hard red spring and soft white wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest, which is "encouraging," Mercer said.
"It's an important market to U.S. wheat as a whole, and the Pacific Northwest producer especially, with our logistical advantage," Padget said. "The entire U.S. wheat system is going to benefit: Wheat off the market is wheat off the market, no matter where it comes from."
Like much of Southeast Asia, the market in Vietnam is developing, and the middle-class population is growing, Padget said, adding it has a lot of potential for U.S. wheat farmers.
"It already is a good market; it could be a great one," he said.
U.S. Wheat and the National Association of Wheat Growers issued a joint press release praising the efforts of the Biden administration, USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service and Vietnam's Ministry of Finance toward eliminating the tariff.
Analysts: As Wheat Tops $11 a Bushel, No Drop in Sight by Matthew Weaver, Capital Press, 11/18/21
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