USA – Japan flour millers have gone to the United States to evaluate and discuss on the quality of US wheat among other issues including relationship between the Japanese milling industry and US wheat.

The group was welcomed by the Oregon Wheat Commission (OWC) and the Washington Grain Commission (WGC).

The forum, also attended by Washington State University officials, researchers and commission members also highlighted the commitment to further developing club wheat varieties through more technical exchange.

Club wheat, a subclass of the soft white wheat grown primarily in the Pacific Northwest and Washington, is a key component in Japanese products and Japan is the top market for club wheat.

“It will confirm enhanced cooperation in order to strengthen the support system of vital USDA ARS club wheat cultivar development, including quality evaluation,” said Gary Bailey, the commission chairman and a St. John farmer.

“We all know how important it is for both farmers and customers that research be market-applicable.”

The trade team discussed the policies and their effects on productive relationships including concerns regarding U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Immediately after his inauguration, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, dealing another blow on long divisive market issues between the U.S. and Japan.

Mike Miller, chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates, told the flour millers that the industry had followed through on their concerns regarding U.S. withdrawal.

He noted that Trump has read and acknowledged the wheat industry’s letters.

“It is difficult to express how much we value our partnership with Japan’s flour millers, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the rest of its wheat foods industries,” said Vince Peterson, USW president at Japan Flour Milling Association 70th Anniversary event.

“We have developed a deep level of trust by maintaining an open dialogue with them. That has been so important to our mutually beneficial, long-term trading relationship, and we confirmed our commitment to continue our partnership in that spirit.”