By MATTHEW WEAVER
Taiwanese wheat buyers purchased 85,550 metric tons of wheat from the U.S. this week and did not exclude wheat from the Pacific Northwest.
According to the U.S. Wheat Associates, the Taiwan Flour Millers Association purchased Western White wheat, a blend of soft white wheat and club wheat, which is primarily grown in the Pacific Northwest.
The millers association did not exclude soft white wheat or club wheat originating from Oregon, said Steve Mercer, vice president of communications for U.S. Wheat.
The flour millers association will accept a USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) letter stating no transgenic wheat in commercial supplies or production with each cargo, Mercer said.
"This is a positive sign," Mercer said. "We think it is fair to say that this signals confidence in the quality, safety and reliability of the U.S. wheat supply generally, and in the PNW wheat supply specifically, not only by our customer but also by the grain traders."
Taiwan is the sixth largest importer of U.S. wheat. Taiwan had not previously suspended imports of U.S. white wheat, according to the Taipei Times newspaper.
Japan and Mexico are the top importers of U.S.wheat. South Korea is the fourth largest importer. Japan and South Korea are the only countries that continue to suspend new purchases of western white wheat.
U.S. Wheat and other members of the U.S. industry have been in frequent contact with government agencies and wheat buyers in those countries, Mercer said. There have also been been meetings with USDA to work together to restore confidence in the industry as quickly as possible.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is investigating an instance of genetically engineered wheat found in a northeastern Oregon field.
Members of the wheat industry have begun to express their frustration with a lack of information about the investigation.
"We are confident APHIS will share more information about its investigation very soon," Mercer said. "Our next steps are to continue the dialogue."