The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the government of Vietnam has notified the U.S. that it will resume imports of American distillers dried grains (DDGS). In December 2016, Vietnam suspended imports of U.S. DDGS after reported detections of quarantine pests in U.S. shipments. Prior to the suspension, Vietnam was the third-largest market for U.S. DDGS, with exports valued at more than $230 million in 2016. The resolution of this issue also opens the way for corn and wheat shipments, which were restricted due to previous treatment requirements.
DDGS are a co-product of ethanol production and are used as an ingredient to provide protein and energy in animal feed. Between 2007 and 2016, annual U.S. exports of DDGS worldwide grew from $392 million to $2.16 billion.
The DDGS ban is one of several agricultural and other priority issues raised in connection with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Washington in May 2017, where he met with President Trump as well as Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Following the series of meetings, the two governments released a joint statement pledging to work closely together to resolve the DDGS issue.
“This is great news and I am pleased that the U.S. exporters will once again be able to ship DDGS to Vietnam, which is one of the fastest-growing global markets for U.S. agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue. “Expanding markets around the world can only help American agriculture.”
“We welcome the resolution of this issue, which will help in our efforts to balance trade and deepen our trade relations with an important Asia-Pacific partner,” said Ambassador Lighthizer.
Following the suspension, representatives from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) engaged in technical discussions with Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development regarding alternative treatment options that would allow U.S. exports to resume. APHIS and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Federal Grain Inspection Service then partnered with industry to host a delegation of Vietnamese officials to view the U.S. fumigation and export infrastructure. USTR, FAS, and U.S. Embassy officials also met with their counterparts in Vietnam.
The U.S. Government continues to work with Vietnam to address other priority agricultural issues. These include Vietnam’s adoption of Codex Maximum Residue Limits for veterinary drugs, as agreed during Prime Minister Phuc’s May visit, as well as removal of Vietnam’s ban on “white offal.”