In 2000, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service cooperator U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) identified an opportunity to grow wheat exports with the Vietnam subsidiary of a large international flour milling and food company. Technical and trade service activities over several years and in 2020 paid off substantially.
Before 2020, with funding from the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, USW worked with the company to demonstrate how blending flour from U.S. hard red spring and soft white could improve the quality and taste of bread products and frozen dough performance for the company’s popular retail bakery franchises in Vietnam. In 2019, the company purchased 10,000 metric tons of U.S. soft white.
In 2020, in trade service sessions with the company, USW provided information the company could use in their wheat import tenders to gain more value from the U.S. wheat supply. That September, three senior managers participated in a USW-sponsored virtual short course on U.S. wheat procurement, made possible with funding from the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, which helped them better understand the U.S. wheat supply system.
As a result of these activities, after buying no hard red spring in 2019, the company imported 52,000 MT of it from the U.S. in 2020 that replaced the Canadian spring wheat the company had previously imported. The company expanded its purchases of both kinds of wheat, and those purchases raised its total 2020 U.S. wheat imports to an estimated value of $19.9 million. Total U.S. wheat imports by Vietnam since 2019-20 are valued at more than $230 million.