FRANKFORT Ky. (Sept. 22, 2015) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced an agreement between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Kentucky farmers to increase corn and soybean exports to Taiwan over the next two years.
“These agreements between Kentucky farmers and the Republic of China (Taiwan) will allow Kentucky to capitalize on one of our nation’s great trade partners,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kentucky exports already support more than 125,000 jobs statewide, and I am excited to have the opportunity to extend that success to our farmers with each of these trade organization commitments in Taiwan.”
Supporting Kentucky’s agriculture community has been a priority for Gov. Beshear throughout his administration. Back in 2009, annual farm receipts totaled $4.3 billion. Today, that number is hovering around $6 billion.
Gov. Beshear traveled to Taiwan in April during his trade mission to Asia. In Taiwan, Gov. Beshear met with Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou and other government dignitaries to further explore trade and investment opportunities.
During today’s event at the Governor’s Mansion, representatives from Kentucky and Taiwan in both the corn and soybean industries joined Gov. Beshear to officially sign Letters of Intent for future purchases of U.S. farm products.
The Taiwan Feed Industry Association has agreed to purchase 197 million bushels of corn at a cost of more than $1.2 billion. The Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association will be purchasing approximately 100 million bushels of soybeans valued at $1.1-$1.2 billion. These combined purchases over the next two years will be beneficial to corn and soybean growers in Kentucky and across the U.S.
Last year, the Commonwealth exported $27.5 billion in products to more than 190 countries, the fourth consecutive year of record growth.
This is a direct result of Gov. Beshear launching the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI) in 2010 to unite and streamline the efforts of Kentucky’s international trade partners.
Since KEI launched, Kentucky exports have grown by more than 42 percent. The national average is about 27 percent growth. Three years prior to KEI, Kentucky’s exports grew by just more than 1 percent.
In 2014, Taiwan ranked as the seventh largest market for U.S. corn exports and fifth in the U.S. soybean market. Following 18 procurement missions to the U.S. from 1978 to 1993, Taiwan has initiated nine additional Agricultural Trade Goodwill missions since 1998.
Taiwan imported more than $3.5 billion in U.S. farm products in 2014. Taiwan has imported more than $9 billion in corn and more than $10.5 billion in soybeans from the U.S. since 1998.
“Taiwan is an important buyer of U.S. coarse grains and co-products, including corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS),” said Kentucky Corn Growers Association President Russel Schwenke. “By having the Taiwanese Agricultural Goodwill Mission visit our state, we are strengthening trade ties and helping to maintain the well-established partnership between the United States and Taiwan.”
“This mission is very important as it builds contacts between key agricultural leaders from Taiwan and U.S. producers and suppliers,” said Kentucky Corn Promotion Council Chairman Philip McCoun. “Fostering relationships helps reassure these Taiwanese agriculture leaders of the United States’ ability to be the reliable long-term supplier of high-quality grains and ultimately helps to preserve their preference for U.S. products.”
“As a soybean producer and chairman of the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board, it is both a pleasure and an honor to work closely with the Republic of China (Taiwan) in this mutually beneficial agreement,” said Keith Tapp, chairman of the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board. “Kentucky’s farmers remain committed to supplying the highest possible quality product to our friends at the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association, and we look forward to further strengthening our friendship and trade relations.”