China remains largest purchaser of US soybeans, stronger collaboration expected: US industry representative
Published: Oct 12, 2022 09:59 PM
Soybean Photo: VCG

Soybean Photo: VCG

China remains the largest customer for US soybean, and the growth in China has been "amazing and fulfilling", Jim Sutter, CEO of the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and chairman of the US Agricultural Export Development Council, said in a written interview with the Global Times on Wednesday, expressing his expectations for stronger bilateral trade in agricultural goods.

Amid growing speculation of weaker agricultural trade flows between China and the US due to climate change, geopolitical tensions and the pandemic, Sutter said that he remains confident in soybean trade with China, which is still the No 1 customer for US soybeans.

As extreme weather wreaked havoc on many parts of US farmland, the amount of land that local farmers could not cultivate tripled from a year earlier, according to American media reports. 

The volume of soybeans shipped from the US to the Chinese mainland surged last week, 11.6 times more than the previous week, but it was only about half of the year-earlier level, the China Soybean Industry Association said.

Main reasons for the dip in soybeans trade include significantly reduced consumption by hotels and restaurants due to COVID-19 resurgences in 2022, the reduced pork price on the market, and sunflower oil substitution for price reasons, according to Sutter. However, Sutter believes that the trade will remain resilient and meet previous forecast for a higher volume.

The USSEC expects that China's soybean imports will increase again to 98 million metric tons in marketing year 2022/23.

Based on higher US soy crop productivity, the USDA's WASDE September 2022 forecast puts US soybean output at 4.4 billion bushels, which Sutter said could make it among the five highest US soybean crops on record.

"We won't know the exact size of the crop until harvest is complete in early November - we continue to hear optimistic yield reports from American farmers," Sutter said.

Sutter said that "China remains the No 1 customer of US soybean and they are proud of the 40-year partnership between US soy and the Chinese industry…the growth in China has been amazing and fulfilling to watch."

This 40-year relationship is an example of how trade can have positive impacts for both countries as they capture their respective comparative advantages, Sutter said.

China produces many goods and exports them to the US, while imports soybean and other agricultural products from the US, Sutter said, adding that "in this sort of a relationship, win-win benefits can be created."

"We believe that the US and Chinese food and agricultural sector could have a shared vision, commitment and action, and through collaboration, we can make a tremendous difference together," Sutter said.