The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) international marketing office in Dubai is the association’s latest among several around the world. A large group of Middle Eastern soy protein decision makers was on hand last month for the association’s launch of the new office. South Dakota soybean grower Bob Metz, a past president of that organization, was among them.
“We have, in the past, serviced the Middle East from Turkey at times, from Europe at times, but it’s becoming a more and more important market mainly in the poultry. And the number one protein of choice for feeding those animals is soybean meal,” said Metz, in an interview with Brownfield Ag News, shortly after returning to the United States from Dubai.
The purpose of the new Dubai office, according to Metz, like the many other ASA offices dotting the globe, is to facilitate soybean sales worldwide.
“From those offices we put together plans for each individual country, for their particular needs, to make sure that we’re spending our dollars wisely to help our customers be successful and to get new customers,” said Metz, but he insists that it goes deeper than that.
“I think we’re doing more than just selling soybeans,” said Metz. “We are also selling our way of doing business, our way of life.”
Lasting relationships resulting from these offices are important to U.S. soybean growers to promote sales of U.S.-grown products, said Metz.
“Anybody can sell at the bottom of the market,” Metz pointed out. “We’re out there trying to get a premium for American soybeans, and to have a preference for American soybeans.”
Metz’s delegation was also planning a stop in Egypt to see Middle East soybean customers; however recent unrest there prevented that from happening.