China approves more Russian animal feed imports

By Chu Daye Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/5 22:58:40

Imported soybeans seen at a port in Nantong, East China's Jiangsu Province in August, 2018. Photo: IC

China has begun to approve imports of more Russian agricultural goods and experts said cooperation with Russia will strengthen Beijing's position in the trade war with the US.

The General Administration of Customs (GAC) said on Thursday that it has allowed imports of soybean meal, rapeseed meal, sunflower meal and sugar beet pulp from Russia.

Exporters of these animal feed ingredients must be inspected and approved by Russian authorities and also registered with the Chinese regulator, the GAC said in a statement on its website.

The trade move came after China approved more soybean, wheat and barley imports from Russia, as a festering China-US trade war curbed American agricultural shipments. The US used to be a major supplier of agricultural goods to China but its market share has been giving way to countries including Brazil and Argentina since the trade war started in 2018.

Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of, a website specializing in grain news, said that China is digging in for a lengthy war of attrition and the measures taken are primarily aimed at expanding import channels by tapping international markets and resources. 

"It will give China more leverage in trade talks," Jiao told the Global Times on Thursday.

In addition to Russia, China has also opened channels to pave the way for more imports from India. 

But for Russian imports to grow significantly, the two countries have to improve their underdeveloped and expensive logistics links, Jiao said. Russia also needs to significantly boost its output of the crops that are wanted in China.

Most types of meal approved so far are for animal feed and these imports would boost China's efforts to prop up hog production amid ongoing African swine fever outbreaks. 

Bilateral trade passed the $100 billion threshold in 2018. The two countries have a more ambitious target in mind - to boost trade to $200 billion by 2024. Top leaders from both countries see agricultural trade as a key driver in boosting trade.

In 2018, China's agricultural trade with Russia totaled $5 billion, growing 28.2 percent year-on-year, GAC data showed. During the same year, China imported $3.21 billion worth of goods from Russia, with an annual growth of 51.3 percent. 

Agricultural cooperation with Russia plays an important supplementary role for China given the background the China-US trade war, said Song Kui, president of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

"The trade war has not affected China-Russia agricultural cooperation, which is gaining momentum in the bigger picture of China-Russia cooperation. The trade war, in fact, accelerated it," Song told the Global Times, noting that Russian agricultural goods are not genetically modified foods.

In July, Chinese companies imported 4,400 tons of soybeans from Russia by sea.

An official with the Ministry of Commerce said on August 1 that China welcomes the soybean production bases of Russia in Europe to expand collaboration with China, including exporting soybeans to China's coastal provinces with strong processing capacity. 

Currently, most of Russia's soybean exports to China are the Far East.


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