U.S. Soy's Connection to Taiwan Remains Strong

February 1, 2020

Since 1969, U.S. soybean farmers have been building relationships and collaborating with partners in Taiwan to help meet that country’s soybean import and processing needs.

South Dakota was among the states represented recently on a U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) sponsored trade mission to Taiwan, celebrating the 50th anniversary of this relationship and reinforcing its importance for all in the soybean value chain.

On the trip, Kim Vanneman, South Dakota’s Secretary of Agriculture, accompanied Jerry Schmitz, executive director of South Dakota Soybean, and Tim Ostrem, director for the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council.

“Trade missions like this one in Taiwan are so important to increasing the demand for U.S. Soy,” commented Ostrem, who farms near Centerville. “It’s a great opportunity for buyers to meet the U.S. soybean farmers and put our faces and stories to the product.”

In 50 years, the trade relationship has grown exponentially. In 1969, Taiwan imported only 472,000 metric tons of soybeans from the United States. For the most recent marketing year, U.S. soybean exports to Taiwan exceeded 2.2 million metric tons. U.S. soybean farmers have an 86% market share for Taiwan’s soy. The nation ranks 7th on our list for top soybean exports.

Soy foods are a staple in the Taiwanese diet, and the market relies heavily on the U.S. to supply it with oils for cooking and soybean meal to meet the country’s pork and poultry production needs.

The USSEC trade mission to Taiwan brought together a significant collection of grower leaders and government officials representing key soybean-producing states. In addition to our South Dakota representatives, leaders from Minnesota, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Illinois took part.

Among other activities, grower leaders and ag department representatives engaged with Taiwanese buyers, customers, and other key stakeholders at the following events:

  • S. Soy and Oil Outlook Conference and 50th Anniversary Celebration – nearly 200 Taiwanese buyers and purchasers attended the USSEC-organized conference in Taipei, where attendees met with grower leaders, agricultural department officials, and other value chain stakeholders about the sustainability attributes and competitive advantage of U.S. Soy.
  • Taiwan Customer Engagement – grower leaders and agricultural department officials visited with representatives of TTET Union Corporation’s crushing facility and Chung Fen tofu factory in Southern Taiwan. USSEC maintains a strong relationship with both strategic partners, a statement reinforced by company representatives during each of these meetings.

To learn more about how USSEC and the U.S. soy community works in collaboration with international buyers and customers to grow demand, visit ussec.org or ussoy.org.