The U.S. Grains Council said the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan Friday "may have caused significant damage to many of Japan's agricultural facilities and production areas," and "will likely impact grain trade."
Although the group did not say so, that suggests Japan could become a larger buyer of U.S. grain and perhaps other products to make up for losses. But besides ravaging part of Japan's agricultural sector, the quake and aftermath could also make it harder to deliver goods to northern Japan because of damage to seaports there.
"The council values our 50-plus-year agricultural partnership with the people of Japan, and stand ready to work side-by-side as you respond and work through recovery." said USGC President and CEO Thomas C. Dorr.
The group's director in Japan, Tommy Hamamoto, cited some initial reports of damage that could affect trade. "Some ports in northern Japan -- Kushiro, Hachinohe, Ishinomaki and Kashima -- were hit by the tsunami," he said. In addition, some feed mills and livestock operations also were reportedly damaged by the tsunami, although they were not severely hurt by the earthquake itself.
"It is too early to tell what effect this will have on Japan's agricultural sector, but it could be of significance," he said.
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