US Soybean exporters face China standards challenge


The quality of USA beans is lower than normal. Photo credit - Pixabay


2017 hasn't been the best year for US soy exporters.


New standards in China, which seek to improve the quality of imports, will limit the permissible level of foreign material in shipments to 1 percent.

Whilst obviously good news for Chinese importers (and consumers) this will increase costs for exporters, in the USA in particular, where 2017 hasn't been the best year already.

In October, we reported that recent hurricanes in the USA had led to problems for soybean exports.

China is the world's largest consumer of soybeans, purchasing around two thirds of the global supply.

Of these, a significant number come from the USA, where this year's harvest has been impacted by poor weather.

As a result, the quality of USA beans is lower than normal, leading to delays in exports to China.

This could impact prices of soybeans over the coming weeks, but is not thought to be an insurmountable problem.

The news comes at a time of growing agricultural trade between China and the USA.

In August, we reported that China had agreed to the import of rice from the USA.

China is both the world's largest consumer and producer of rice. 

US rice cultivation is particularly prominent in the states of Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas, and the country accounts for around two percent of annual global rice output.

It will need to compete with China's current suppliers, including Pakistan and Thailand, to win Chinese orders.

Initially, the USA planned to export around four million tonnes of rice to China - just a fraction of the latter country's five billion tonnes of annual imports.

Nevertheless, after ten years of negotiations, the news was warmly received.

US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, said that the Chinese market '...represents an exceptional opportunity today, with enormous potential for growth in the future.'

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