US soybean industry calls for exports to China to return to normal

By Xie Jun in Shanghai Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/5 20:03:40

US soybean industry wants exports to return to normal

A view of the US Soybean Export Council exhibition booth on Monday during the second China International Import Expo Photo: Xie Jun/GT

US soybean exports to China dwindled in 2019 as the trade war between the two largest economies fermented, but the US soybean industry still clings to the Chinese market with the hope that the huge bilateral trade in the crop can return to normal, representatives from leading US soybean associations told the Global Times at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) being held in Shanghai from Tuesday to Sunday. 

The US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) is a second-time exhibitor at the CIIE. Zhang Xiaoping, country director for China at the USSEC, said that there were no Chinese companies that came to his booth during last year's CIIE with the intention of striking deals. 

"We hope this can change at this year's CIIE and there will be some deals clinched in the next few days," Zhang said. 

Jacob Parker, director of the United Soybean Board, told the Global Times that US soybean sellers have "spent a lot of dollars" on the Chinese market over the years. "We won't give it up by any means and we hope to get back to where it was," he said. 

"For the CIIE, I don't know how that works for the US right now, but it's great if China and the US make more sales to each other," he said. 

China used to import large quantities of soybeans from the US but trade of the crop took a sudden turn for the worse starting in 2018, when Washington set off a prolonged trade dispute with Beijing by repeatedly increasing tariffs on imported goods from China. 

According to statistics revealed by Zhang, China bought about 36 million tons of soybeans from the US in the 2016-17 marketing year, accounting for nearly 40 percent of China's overall soybean imports in that period. But the proportion dropped to less than 30 percent and then sank further to less than 20 percent this year. 

China imported 64.51 million tons of soybeans in the first three quarters this year, down 7.9 percent year-on-year, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs on October 14.

Imported soybeans from the US slumped by 70.6 percent in the first four months of this year to 4.31 million, customs data showed.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang told a recent press conference that US farmers are patiently waiting for the results of the China-US trade negotiations.

Signs have emerged that the two countries are moving closer to a trade deal, reflected partly by China's reported new purchases of US soybeans, a change that Parker called very "encouraging." 

Zhang said that despite external obstacles, the USSEC would continue to present its technologies and products and display the company's image at future CIIEs. 

"We still want to display our partnership [with the Chinese market] and strive for the purchase of US soybeans by Chinese companies," Zhang said. "We hope that China-US soybean trade can return to normal as soon as possible." 

Newspaper headline: US soybean industry wants exports to return to normal


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