Many Chinese grain and oil enterprises have sought to diversify soybean imports to avoid risks brought by the ongoing trade friction between China and the United States, with South America becoming the new front-runner, according to Chinanews.com last Wednesday.
The major source of imported soybean products can be easily substituted, with sufficient crop supplies around the world that can be processed into oil and meal, said Yu Xubo, president of China's largest grain enterprise China National Cereal, Oils and Foodstuff Corporation (COFCO).
Yu said the soybean shortage caused by a decrease of soybean imports from the US can be made up by importing soybean products from other countries and regions.
Industry insiders discussed that in the long run, regions such as South America and the Black Sea have great potential to play bigger roles in the global soybean supply chain.
Evidence for this comes from the Sinograin Oils Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China's state-owned backbone grain and oil enterprise, Sinograin. In 2017, soybean imports from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay accounted for 69.4 percent of the company's total soybean imports, while imports from the US only accounted for 30.6 percent of the total.
In fact, the distribution of China's soybean sources has been changing since long before the recent trade friction.
Statistics from China's customs service show that in 2016 and 2017, soybeans imported by China from non-US countries, mainly South America, accounted for over 60 percent of China's total soybean imports, and has since grown steadily.
Relevant statistics indicate that although US exports make up 35 percent of China's total soybean imports, they account for a much larger 60 percent of the United States' total soybean exports.
"Farmers in the US are the real victims of the high tariff policy of the US government", said Yu.
Cover image: Imported soybeans processed in Nantong, east China's Jiangsu Province on August 6, 2018. (Photo: VCG)