China, Russia build soybean industry alliance
Published: Aug 26, 2020 01:08 AM

Soybean. Photo:Xinhua

China and Russia have built a soybean industry alliance and agreed to deepen cooperation on all links of their soybean industry chain, China's Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said on Tuesday during a video meeting with Maksim Reshetnikov, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation in Russia. 

The alliance will broaden the channels of China's soybean imports at a time when its trade with the US, China's second-largest source of soybean, is in the shadows of political confrontation. 

In the past two years, China's soybean imports from the US have been on and off as the two countries' relations have taken twists and turns. China's soybean imports from the US nosedived in 2018 but started to recover after the two countries inked a trade deal in early 2020. Yet the crop's trading future is still uncertain as tensions are heating up between the two largest economies in the world. 

"Establishing the alliance can help China to cope with potential risks, including the China-US trade risks," Li Guoxiang, a research fellow in the agricultural sector at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of, a website specializing in grain news, also told the Global Times that China has already  broadened the channel of soybean imports by expanding importing countries from South America to Russia, South Asia and India. 

Russia isn't likely to replace the US in supplying soybeans to China, as China's soybean imports from the US account for about one third of its overall soybean imports, while those from Russia only account for less than 1 percent, Jiao said. 

As China and Russia broaden cooperation on soybean trade imporats are sure to rise, experts said. 

According to Li, China's soybean imports from Russia might eventually account for 10 percent of China's overall imports of the crop. 

Jiao said that there's plenty of room for China and Russia to carry out agricultural collaboration, with China's huge market and Russia's vast agricultural lands. He also noted that such cooperation could extend to Russia's neighboring countries that have joined the Belt and Road Initiative.