United States corn exporters are concerned with the fact that Venezuela, one of their prime markets, is now a full member of Mercosur, which includes Brazil and Argentina two major exporting countries.
In recent years Venezuela has surpassed Colombia and the Dominican Republic to become one of the largest markets for US corn. Although Venezuelan grain importers make purchasing decisions based on necessity, access to foreign currency and exchange rates, US corn exports to Venezuela soared to 2.4 million metric tons in 2012 because the United States is a reliable and efficient supplier of grains.
However, US dominance in this market is beginning to be challenged by corn exports from South America since Venezuela joined Mercosur in June 2012. In effect Brazil and Argentina now have tariff advantages on corn exports to Venezuela over the United States. The duty on Mercosur corn imports is 8% whereas the duty US corn is 15%.
Traders estimate that this will erode US market share in Venezuela. As the industry is currently structured, however, it is unlikely that the market will entirely switch to South American suppliers. Venezuelan importers presently do not have much time to shop for the best price. When they import they are forced to move quickly and the United States is only five days sail rather than the 15 days from South America.
US corn exports to Venezuela are expected to continue due to the proximity and ease of originating out of the United States, but the doors for competition are opening.