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The Future of Canadian Wheat Exports to Japan: Comparing the Japanese and South Korean Noodle Flour Markets

By Renee B. Kim, Michele M. Veeman and James R. Unterschultz

Abstract

While the demand for wheat flour for bread is relatively static in both Japan and South Korea, consumer markets for noodles in both countries are growing in importance. Each of the two countries depends heavily on milling-wheat imports since there is very little domestic wheat production. Canadian wheat exports represent only a small share of South Korean wheat imports and about 25 percent of the wheat imported by Japan. The South Korean wheat import market was deregulated in 1990. The liberalization of wheat imports and deregulation of the Korean milling sector have intensified competition in the flour milling industries in that market. Individual millers are interested in developing new blending formulae for wheat flour in order to survive in a more competitive market environment. Japan’s wheat import market, while still highly regulated, is expected to deregulate in the future and demand is expected to continue to increase for wheat flour for noodle production. Fundamental marketing issues revolving around Canada’s ability to supply wheats of the specified preferred quality to South Korea and Japan need to be examined since these may have significant implications for Canadian wheat exports to the region. South Korea provides a case study of changes that may occur in wheat demand as Japan deregulates its wheat import market. The comparison of the markets for noodle flour in these two Asian nations is highly relevant to the ongoing debate about Canadian domestic policies for wheat breeding, exports and grain regulation.International Relations/Trade,

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