US EXPECTING TO INCREASE SALES OF WHEAT TO CHINESE

US EXPECTING TO INCREASE SALES OF WHEAT TO CHINESE

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects China to buy more U.S. wheat during the 1993-94 (June-June) marketing year, in addition to the 800,000 metric tons it has bought thus far.

''We do believe we will make some additional sales in the Chinese market this year," said Christopher Goldthwaite, USDA acting general sales manager. He is accompanying Mike Espy, the Agriculture Secretary on an Asian trip covering Japan, Hong Kong and China.Speaking to reporters in Hong Kong Thursday, Mr. Goldthwaite said the USDA had no target figure for 1993-94 U.S. wheat exports to China, but said it would work to win as big a market share as possible.

"We further are going to be pursuing additional sales in the Chinese market very vigorously, not only during this particular visit being led by the secretary, but over the remainder of the marketing season," Mr. Goldthwaite said.

The USDA this week cut its estimate of Chinese total 1993-94 wheat imports to 6 million metric tons, from 7 million a month ago.

But Mr. Goldthwaite said he was confident increased sales to Africa and possibly other Asian countries would keep U.S. wheat exports steady. The USDA forecast of total U.S. wheat exports was unchanged at 30.62 million tons for 1993-94.

"'We're looking at markets throughout this region . . . in Japan, Korea. So far this marketing year we've done relatively well in the sub-Saharan markets as well (as North Africa)," he said.

"We also have the ability to use our export subsidy program for the first time in Mexico," he said.

"There are a variety of markets out there, and an adjustment in the import estimate in one particular market does not necessarily mean that the total level of U.S. exports are going to fall."

The USDA group will remain in Hong Kong for the rest of the week, visiting with U.S. business leaders and local officials, before leaving for Beijing next week.

The USDA said in Washington that it has subsidized 21.6 million tons of wheat exports in fiscal 1993 ending September 30, up more than 1.8 million

from the previous year and the second-highest volume in the 9-year history of the U.S. Export Enhancement Program, a recent department report said.

But combined subsidized vegetable oil exports under EEP and two separate programs for cottonseed oil and sunflowerseed oil fell by about 16 percent in fiscal 1993 to 616,423 tons, USDA said.

The volume of subsidized exports can vary greatly from year to year depending on market factors. In fiscal 1988, poor crop conditions around the world propelled U.S. EEP wheat exports to a record 26.6 million tons before dropping to 16.0 million the following year.

Along with the sharp increase for wheat, EEP flour exports tripled to 756,636 tons during fiscal 1993. However, that was still less than the record 963,000 tons of flour sold under EEP in fiscal 1986.

Altogether, USDA spent 967.3 million in fiscal 1993 to subsidized farm exports under EEP. That is about unchanged from fiscal 1992 and below the fiscal 1988 record of $1.012 billion.