Major Players

The US is a major player in the world corn market (Table 1). In 2024, the US is expected to be the largest producer, consumer, and exporter of corn.

The US has consistently been the world's largest producer of corn in recent years and there is a sizeable gap between the US and the world’ second largest producer, China.

The US is expected to reclaim the top exporter spot this year. This comes after Brazil temporarily passed the US as the world's largest exporter of corn.

Graph of Major Players in World Corn MarketTable 1. Major Players in the World Corn Market

Relative Value of US Corn Imports and Exports

To get a more detailed look at world corn trade the rest of this article will reference BACI data not USDA data. Therefore, the following tables will not be directly comparable to Table 1. BACI is an international trade dataset assembled by CEPII using the United Nation’s Comtrade data that is corrected for inconsistencies. Data will include only corn designed as non-seed corn.  

Figure 1 shows US corn imports and exports in terms of value, quantity, and average price. As mentioned earlier, the US is a top exporter of corn and imports almost none.

Graphs of US Corn Trade

Figure 1. US Corn Trade

Major Trade Partners for US Corn

Over the past 5 years, Mexico, Japan, and China have been the top buyers of US corn. Together they make up over 60% of US exports.

Canada, Argentina, and Brazil have been the largest suppliers of foreign corn to the US (Table 2). Together they make up almost 80% of US imports.

Graph of Major US Corn Trade PartnersTable 2. Major US Corn Trade Partners

Markets of Other Major Exporters

Table 3 outlines trade relationships of the top four largest exporters of corn other than the US.

Brazil was the largest exporter of corn in the 2022/23 marketing year and is forecast to be the second largest exporter in the 2023/24 marketing year. Brazil’s top trade partners are Iran, the EU, Japan and Egypt. Brazil has relatively even distribution of top markets, with no one market dominating its export market. 

Argentina is another major corn exporter. Its top market is Vietnam. After that it has a large mix of trading partners all taking decent quantities of corn. This is similar to Brazil. 

The Ukraine’s top partners were the EU and China. Egypt, Turkey, and Iran also get a significant amount of corn from the Ukraine.

Russia also made the top five exporters from 2018-2022 but had much lower totals than the US and the three previously listed counties. Its top partners are Iran and Turkey. 

Graph of Trade Partners of Other Corn ExportersTable 3. Trade Partners of Other Major Exporters

Markets of Major Importers

Table 4 outlines the trade relationships of the four largest corn importers in the world.

China is the largest importer of corn. From 2018-2022, most of its corn imports came from the US and Ukraine. China’s largest supplier by far was the US, making up 65% of its corn imports by value. Ukraine was a distance second.

The EU, sources most of its corn from the Ukraine. Brazil was also a significant supplier.

Mexico gets almost all its corn imports from the US, over 90%. Brazil is a distance second largest supplier.

Japan also gets a large majority, over 70%, of its corn from the US. Brazil is a distance second for Japan.

Graph of Trade Partners of Corn ImportersTable 4. Trade Partners of Other Major Importers