US Wheat Exports Feed Many Countries

Although China and India produce more wheat than America, the United States is the world’s number one exporter of wheat – the world’s second most-produced cereal grain food next to corn.

This analysis highlights the countries that imported the most American wheat in 2016, as well as those nations that increased or decreased their wheat deliveries from the U.S. by the highest percentages.

During 2016, America shipped US$8.5 billion worth of grain around the globe. That overall amount represents a 99% increase from 2015, and a 112% gain since 2012.

Top 10 U.S. Wheat Importing Countries

During 2016, the following top 10 importers of American wheat consumed 56.2% of total U.S. wheat exports.

  1. Japan … US$797.1 million (9.4% of US exported wheat) – up 39.1% from 2015, up 65.1% from 2012
  2. Egypt … $733.2 million (8.7%) – up 211.6%, up 82.3%
  3. Nigeria … $657.1 million (7.8%) – up 42.7%, up 144.2%
  4. Mexico … $650.2 million (7.7%) – up 50.8%, up 60.6%
  5. Iraq … $413.8 million (4.9%) – up 43.5%, up 3,056.4%
  6. Philippines … $351.9 million (4.2%) – up 9.9%, up 58.7%
  7. Taiwan … $331.5 million (3.9%) – up 106.7%, up 143%
  8. South Korea … $329.3 million (3.9%) – up 74.7%, up 59.6%
  9. Morocco … $256.5 million (3%) – up 618.7%, up 535%
  10. Indonesia … $236.6 million (2.8%) – up 296.7%, up 783.1%.

Since the Second Gulf War began on March 20, 2012, the value of American wheat exports to Iraq has increased by over 3,000%.

Other Leading US Cereal Grain Importers

In total, the 10 countries below account for an additional 17.6% of total American wheat exports.

  1. Venezuela … US$227.9 million (2.7% of US exported wheat) – up 35.4% from 2015, up 93% from 2012
  2. Colombia … $209.8 million (2.5%) – up 135.7%, up 93.7%
  3. Spain … $191.3 million (2.3%) – up 1,731.1%, up 241.6%
  4. Peru … $161 million (1.9%) – up 763.9%, up 58.5%
  5. Italy … $155.8 million (1.8%) – up 78.6%, up 33.5%
  6. South Africa … $147.4 million (1.7%) – up 3,066.1%, up 198.2%
  7. Thailand … $109.6 million (1.3%) – up 35.5%, up 101.8%
  8. Chile … $109 million (1.3%) – up 187.4%, up 200.8%
  9. Brazil … $90.8 million (1.1%) – up 2,844.7%, up 43.5%
  10. Bangladesh … $88.5 million (1%) – up 674.8%, up 670.2%.

The above list includes 4 of South America’s larger economies, plus Bangladesh with its population of 153.4 million.

Biggest Sales Percentage Increases by US Wheat Importing Country

The following countries grew their imports of American wheat by the highest percentages.

  1. Turkey … US$11.8 million – up 28,790% from 2015, up from NIL in 2012
  2. Netherlands … $17.5 million – up 28,174%, up 11.5%
  3. Australia … $5.5 million – up 13,332%, up 7,767%
  4. South Africa … $147.4 million – up 3,066%, up 198.2%
  5. Brazil … $11.8 million – up 2,845%, up 43.5%
  6. United Arab Emirates … $40.8 million – up 2,558%, up 509,550%
  7. Portugal … $38.9 million – up 2,289%, up 119.3%
  8. Spain … $191.3 million – up 1,731%, up 241.6%
  9. Vietnam … $37.2 million – up 1,121%, up 644.8%
  10. Peru … $161 million – up 763.9%, up 58.5%.

Biggest Sales Percentage Decreases by US Wheat Importing Country

In 2016, U.S. wheat imports into Lebanon plummeted from $5.4 million to nil. Austria, Denmark and Finland also did not import any wheat from the United States last year. Greece and Kuwait each imported only $4,000 worth of the grain.

The following countries decreased their deliveries of American wheat by the highest percentages.

  • China … US$6.5 million – down 71.5% from 2015, down 81.8% from 2012
  • Ukraine … $23,000 – down 48.9%, up from NIL in 2012.

The world’s leading wheat-farming nation China continues to decrease its reliance on U.S. food imports. The People’s Republic has elected to feed its 1.3 billion citizens with Chinese-grown grains while cutting back on U.S. wheat imports. So while America is increasing its cereal crop exports to most countries around the globe, China is definitely one big trading partner going against the wheat grain.

Israel's market

In recognition that Israel is the UK’s third largest export partner in the Middle East, a range of practical advice is available from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to British businesses with plans to target this potentially lucrative market.

Israel’s Environment Sector

Within that market, in a growing number of niche ‘green’ industries, the Environment Sector offers particular scope for British high technology companies. It is a burgeoning sector ably supported by Israeli government initiatives designed to ensure that companies move from start-up to profit. Some examples are:

  • Biological/medical waste
  • Solar power
  • Geothermal energy
  • Water recycling is
  • Water desalination and conservation
  • Sewage treatment.

For many, in a country that is subject to water shortages, the most important environmental niche is indeed water, its generation through desalination plants, its cleaning and recycling and certainly its effective management.

Israel’s National Water Management Programme

In Israel, the National Water Management Programme is tasked with providing good quality water from a range of sources with an overriding priority of increasing the supply. The Mekorot Israel National Water Company exists to control the water quality.

In the rush to become ‘green’ a number of smaller companies, including some kibbutz-based businesses, are involved in technological innovation specifically geared to the water industry.

Among the water projects are:

  • Treatments to remove pollutants from contaminated groundwater
  • Water system protection solutions
  • Valves and controls for water management
  • Smart drip and micro-irrigation solutions.

In Israel, the subject of water remains, in political and security terms, an emotive one. By the early 1970s some of the MENA region countries, including Israel had entered a water deficit phase, said Tony Allan from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. While such a scenario remains an alien one to most western citizens the acquisition of sufficient water has remained an essential element in every Israeli government’s decision-making process.

Since 1948, disputes over Lakes Hula and Tiberias (also known as Sea of Galilee and Lake Kinneret), the Banais River, Jordan-Negev project and a whole host of Jordan River Valley water initiatives, to name only a few, have further tainted, almost to the point of war on some occasions, relations with Israel’s riparian neighbours.

Putting aside any political and security implications of Israel’s water capture, for the purposes of this short article, the importance of what water is available to Israel must not be undervalued.

International Conference on Water Technologies

To this end Watec, the 6th International Exhibition and the 3rd International Conference on Water Technologies, Renewable Energy and Environmental Control will take place in the Tel Aviv Exhibition Centre, 15-17 November. For UK companies with an interest in the Israeli environment market it’s the ideal place to show off their products to senior buyers and executives who visit the show. Among some of the exhibits expected are:

  • Advanced Water Solutions
  • Advanced Irrigation Systems
  • Water and Wastewater Projects
  • Water Quality and Water Treatment
  • Leakage Control Solutions.

UKTI emphasises the strong entrepreneurial culture that pervades Israeli society enabling, “new ideas to be nurtured and developed.” The UK trade body also make the point that Israel, “does not enjoy a significant home market and therefore Israeli companies are keen to form alliances with companies abroad.” While it’s recognised that the United States is Israel’s traditional partner in this sector, there is certainly an opportunity for UK companies to grab a slice of Israel’s environmental cake.