Soy­bean trade sees good prospects if Sino-US dis­pute set­tled prop­erly

China Daily - - BUSINESS - By ZHONG NAN zhong­nan@chi­

To­tal soy­bean ex­ports from the United States to China would de­cline by at least 20 per­cent for the 201718 mar­ket­ing year, com­pared to a his­toric record of 36 mil­lion met­ric tons in the last mar­ket­ing year, if the trade dis­pute be­tween China and US can­not be solved in a timely man­ner.

Zhang Xiaop­ing, coun­try di­rec­tor for China at the US Soy­bean Ex­port Coun­cil, said cur­rent trade ten­sions have al­ready pushed Chi­nese im­porters to turn else­where for soy­bean sup­plies, al­though US soy­beans are com­pet­i­tive in both price and qual­ity.

“US farm­ers be­lieve the right strat­egy to solve trade im­bal­ances should be to fur­ther ex­pand trade in­stead of re­stric­tive mea­sures such as puni­tive tar­iffs. So they have been mak­ing an ef­fort to sup­port all poli­cies aimed at ex­pand­ing trade,” he said.

As the US is ex­pected to in­crease its sales of soy­bean and soy prod­ucts to other mar­kets, to­tal US soy­bean ex­ports for this year would de­crease only by 5 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the USSEC.

“Be­cause soy­bean trade be­tween China and the US has been ben­e­fi­cial to Chi­nese crush­ers, feed millers, an­i­mal pro­duc­ers and US farm­ers, any trade re­stric­tions will dam­age the in­dus­tries in both coun­tries. We don’t think it rea­son­able or worth­while for any poli­cies to hurt ones’ own in­ter­ests,” Zhang said.

He added soy­bean trade be­tween the two coun­tries will be fur­ther ex­panded in the long run, and ex­pand­ing soy trade can ef­fec­tively help solve the trade im­bal­ance is­sue in the short term.

“We hope the two coun­tries will re­al­ize the im­por­tance of soy­bean trade to both economies and find the so­lu­tion to the cur­rent trade dis­pute.”

China has other op­tions to seek new soy­bean sell­ers from other mar­kets such as Brazil and Ar­gentina, al­though the US has some ad­van­tages when it comes to price and so­phis­ti­cated dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems for de­liv­ery.

“US soy­beans are of de­cent qual­ity in terms of di­gestible amino acids for better an­i­mal feed, which makes the US a com­pet­i­tive sup­plier of soy­beans,” said Li Han­ping, a pro­fes­sor at Shenyang Agri­cul­tural Uni­ver­sity in Liaon­ing prov­ince.

Soy­beans are grown in 29 states in the US, where about 55 per­cent of its soy­bean prod­uct is ex­ported.

Chi­nese farm­ers cur­rently plant non-ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied va­ri­eties, and their per­hectare pro­duc­tion is around half that of the ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied ones grown in the US, Brazil and Ar­gentina.

It is dif­fi­cult to in­crease China’s soy­bean out­put within a short pe­riod, be­cause farm­ers in the North­east can­not get more land or con­vert land grown for other yields such as corn and rice.

“With ris­ing farm­ing equip­ment prices and lim­ited arable land, the cost of rais­ing do­mes­tic out­put is fairly high,” said Ding Lixin, a re­searcher at the Chi­nese Academy of Agri­cul­tural Sciences in Bei­jing.


Soy­beans are har­vested in Prince­ton, Illi­nois, the United States.

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