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Introducing Europe’s Next Generation of Millers to U.S. Wheat
June 17, 2015

ARLINGTON, Virginia — The link between food and family transcends cultures and, in some cases, industries. European millers will have the chance to witness this in action while learning about the quality of U.S. wheat and the reliability of the U.S. supply system June 21 to 27, 2015, on their trade team visits to North Dakota, Minnesota and Ohio. The team of six participants from Italy, Spain and Malta include millers from companies of varying sizes and an Italian wheat trader who does business with the mills. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) worked with the North Dakota Wheat Commission, the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council and the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program to organize this team.

“Some of these millers are owners or someday will take over the family business,” said Rutger Koekoek, USW Rotterdam Office marketing specialist, who will travel with the team. “They have responsibilities spanning procurement, production, quality control and so this visit gives the U.S. wheat industry the opportunity to develop a relationship with the next generation of decision makers.”

Based on a five-year average, the USW European Union (EU) region, which includes Israel, annually imports about 400,000 metric tons (MT) of hard red spring (HRS) wheat. Italy is the largest European importer of HRS wheat, averaging 70 percent of total European imports of HRS over the past three years. “These countries look to U.S. wheat for quality in HRS wheat that is ideal for use in high quality flour mixes and soft red winter wheat that is suited for biscuits, crackers and pastries,” said Koekoek. “It is important that customers feel confident about both the product and the system.”

Members of the trade team will see each step of the grain supply chain for HRS in North Dakota and Minnesota, and for soft red winter (SRW) wheat in Ohio. The schedule includes farm tours and discussions with university wheat breeders about how they are improving U.S. wheat qualities in ways that are important to overseas customers. The trip will also give participants an in depth look at the U.S. wheat grading, marketing and transportation systems.

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 USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. 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.
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2015 European Trade Team – Members

Mrs. Anna Maria Langella
Trader specialized in contract execution, Finagrit S.r.L., Naples, Italy

Mr. Mauro Caputo
Production Manager, Antimo Caputo S.r.L., Naples, Italy

Mr. Alexander Meilak
General Manager, Federated Mills, Marsa, Malta

Mr. Juan Manuel Garza
Purchasing & Financial Manager, Harinas Polo, Zaragoza, Spain

Mr. Martí Moretó
Deputy Director, Fills de Moretó, Mollet del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain

Mr. Ramón López
Procurement Manager, Harivasa 2000 S.A., Noáin, Navarra, Spain

Mr. Rutger Koekoek
Marketing Specialist, U.S. Wheat Associates, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The U.S. Wheat Industry Relationship with Europe

The European milling market is a high value, competitive market. Millers in Southern Europe, including those from Italy, Spain and Malta, have high quality expectations about wheat for their flour mixes, biscuits, crackers, pastries and for blending. Based on a five-year average, the USW European Union (EU) region, which includes Israel, annually imports about 400,000 MT of HRS wheat. Italy is the largest European importer of HRS wheat, averaging 70 percent of total European imports of HRS over the past three years. Spain was a large importer of HRS until marketing year 2010/2011, when imports significantly dropped to 53,000 MT of HRS in marketing year 2013/14. Malta has also been a relatively small, but traditional buyer of HRS wheat with somewhat irregular purchases in recent years.

The recent economic downturn hit Italy and Spain — the U.S. wheat industry’s main European export markets ­— particularly hard, resulting in growing pressure on flour prices from the food industry. Data from the Italian Farmers' Confederation show that Italians spent, on average, 12 percent less on food in 2013 than they did before the economic crisis began in 2007. Imports of third country wheat including HRS have also been constrained by a growing availability of European medium- to high-protein wheat. However, because European wheat lacks quality consistency, HRS wheat continues to serve an important high quality segment of the market, due to its unique combination of gluten strength and extensibility.

SRW was the top U.S. wheat class imported during the two marketing years that the EU temporarily suspended an import duty on lower protein wheat. Import volumes of SRW amounted to 566,000 MT in MY11/12 and 418,000 MT in MY12/13, with roughly 80 percent imported by Spain and 15 percent imported by Italy. Since the temporary suspension of the €12/MT ended June 30, 2013, the EU has not imported any SRW. If competitively priced, SRW might move into Europe again, although the import duty and the recent weakening of the euro make this unlikely for the time being. However, USW continues to keep buyers there well informed about U.S. SRW supply, quality and value.

U.S. wheat farmers opened an export promotion office in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 1958. Today, the USW European regional office there is responsible for carrying out activities in all countries of the European continent, Israel and the former Soviet Union. The region includes a sub-office in Moscow, Russia. USW works directly with EU-end users and importers to help them strengthen commercial links with U.S. export companies through trade serving and technical assistance activities in Europe and by facilitating visits to the United States, like the one take place this month. Active membership in regional and international trade and industry organization is also important to link prospective wheat buyers to the right exporters.

The U.S. Wheat Sales to European Union and Israel
1,000 Metric Tons

Crop Year
(June - May)
HRW
SRW
HRS
White
Durum
Total
2014/15
101.1
0.0
395.7
0.0
378.3
875.0
2013/14
158.4
21.8
309.7
0.0
312.4
802.3
2012/13
230.8
451.8
300.0
0.8
261.9
1,245.3
2011/12
266.9
621.9
338.1
1.3
269.8
1,498.0
2010/11
447.9
91.7
790.5
0.0
464.0
1,794.1
2009/10
174.2
0.0
224.9
0.0
381.2
780.3
2008/09
369.4
77.6
586.8
0.3
287.3
1,321.4
2007/08
262.9
133.7
1,285.9
0.0
544.8
2,227.2
2006/07
152.0
44.5
439.5
2.1
276.2
914.2
2005/06
306.2
0.0
1,159.1
0.0
332.5
1,797.8
Data current through June 4, 2015

One metric ton = 36.74 bushels

The U.S. Wheat Sales to Italy
1,000 Metric Tons
Crop Year
(June - May)
HRW
SRW
HRS
White
Durum
Total
2014/15
0.0
0.0
274.1
0.0
378.2
652.3
2013/14
0.0
0.0
204.5
0.0
274.1
478.5
2012/13
0.0
89.0
216.0
0.0
202.4
507.4
2011/12
0.0
54.5
81.5
0.0
226.5
362.5
2010/11
7.9
46.5
298.8
0.0
362.3
715.6
2009/10
0.0
0.0
24.5
0.0
339.9
364.3
2008/09
0.0
0.0
101.4
0.0
280.7
382.1
2007/08
0.0
11.5
236.0
0.0
411.2
658.7
2006/07
0.0
0.0
262.1
0.0
273.5
535.7
2005/06
0.0
0.0
462.1
0.0
285.6
747.7
Data current through June 4, 2015
One metric ton = 36.74 bushels
The U.S. Wheat Sales to Spain
1,000 Metric Tons
Crop Year
(June - May)
HRW
SRW
HRS
White
Durum
Total
2014/15
0.0
0.0
33.0
0.0
0.0
33.0
2013/14
0.0
0.0
19.9
0.0
0.0
19.9
2012/13
0.0
266.6
0.0
0.0
0.0
266.6
2011/12
0.0
543.4
95.7
0.0
0.0
639.1
2010/11
0.0
26.2
258.5
0.0
19.5
304.2
2009/10
0.0
0.0
134.8
0.0
0.0
134.8
2008/09
0.0
59.5
304.3
0.0
0.0
363.8
2007/08
0.0
97.9
572.5
0.0
13.2
683.6
2006/07
0.0
44.5
74.1
0.0
0.0
118.5
2005/06
0.0
0.0
420.9
0.0
26.8
447.7
Data current through June 4, 2015
One metric ton = 36.74 bushels

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact U.S. Wheat Associates at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY - 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S.- 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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