WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alongside representatives from the fashion, auto, energy and telecommunications industries, northern U.S. soybean farmers made their case at a hearing in Washington, D.C., regarding a proposed U.S.-Japan trade agreement.
On behalf of Northern Soy Marketing LLC, Tom Slunecka, CEO of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission that a long standing internal mandate in Japan regarding soybeans has created a non-tariff barrier to trade.
“Japanese buyers largely procure soybeans from America’s Gulf of Mexico ports due to outdated and misleading technical measurements that state crude protein is the ultimate quality measure for soybeans,” Slunecka said. “In reality, crude protein measurements are just that: crude.”
Soybeans grown in such states as Minnesota and the Dakotas are prized due to a superior content of essential amino acids (EAA), which help mongastric animals, such as chicken, swine and aquaculture, build muscle mass and produce more meat and eggs.
The EAA measurement of soybeans provides the most accurate profile of product quality and value. The EAA value allows nutritionists to optimize animal diets and potentially eliminate the need for costly synthetic amino acid supplements.
Slunecka said because of this outdated reliance on crude protein parameters, the most efficient route for Japan to purchase U.S. soybeans is not being utilized
“America’s Pacific Northwest ports offer a greater advantage for transportation costs and efficiencies due to the billions of dollars of investments in infrastructures by the grain elevator system, rail companies and soybean port transloading facilities,” Slunecka said.
It was announced in September that the U.S. and Japan would enter into negotiating regarding a bilateral free trade agreement. Northern soybean farmers hope to include language in the agreement that would define soybean or soybean meal in Japan to not be required to possess a minimum crude protein content.
Read his full testimony below.