According to the U.S. Grains Council, while the United States has finally approved the Colombia, Panama and South Korea free trade agreements, the long delay in achieving U.S. ratification continues to produce fallout. Kurt Shultz, U.S. Grains Council regional director, reports that U.S. market share in the Caribbean Basin continues to suffer as South American exports’ growing advantage in Colombia spilled over to a number of other markets in the region.
Shultz says, – the primary destinations for South American corn in order of volume are Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and now Panama. He says – a tremendous amount of work still needs to be done as our market share in the region is still under attack. As an example, Shultz noted that Panama had its first shipment of South American corn at the end of 2010 and has continued importing from South America this year. Colombia is the primary driver in this situation. Shultz says – this highlights the need for the United States to work urgently to implement the Colombia FTA. If the process takes more than a year, U.S. farmers and exporters will continue to suffer market losses in the region.