In 2009, Colombian yellow corn imports declined due to the slowdown in Colombia’s economic growth, which affected local demand for poultry, hog and dairy products. Colombia’s yellow corn production also declined despite high international prices and government support to encourage increased production. Total corn production is estimated at 1.56 million tons in 2010, reflecting virtually no change from the previous year. Government incentives resulted in increases in planted areas and production for some mechanized commercial farmers, but corn acreage in areas of some small farmers has dropped due to high production costs, bad weather, and greater pest problems.
Corn consumption growth in past years was due to increases in production of poultry, livestock (dairy and swine), and a relatively recent growth in fish and shrimp production. However, reduced economic growth will result in a decrease in poultry meat demand and beef consumption in 2009. The Colombian government set the yellow corn import TRQ for 2009 at 3.05 MMT. Imports under the TRQ will enter duty free and it is expected that U.S. yellow corn will export 2.5 MMT under the quota. As part of the CTPA, a tariff-rate quota for U.S. yellow corn was negotiated at 2.1 million tons for the first year, which will increase over a 12 year period before being eliminated, along with the tariff.
In the long run, imports of U.S. yellow corn under the CTPA, will remain steady and possibly even grow depending on international prices. Preliminary estimates indicate that imports of U.S. corn will decrease in 2009, but will regain momentum and reach over five million tons in the following years, assuming economic growth in Colombia recovers after the current slowdown. Although limited, U.S. white corn exports could see an increase, depending on overall prices and Colombian production.
U.S. corn exports in bulk will continue to be the United State’s best corn product export opportunity for Colombia.