One of China's main agricultural imports - soybean, after a temporary falloff in 2002, hit a new record in 2003 and for the first time exceeded domestic production.
Latest statistics released by Chinese Customs revealed that China's soybean import in 2003 reached 20.74 million tons �C the highest in recent years and 83.3 percent higher than the previous year. Import value topped US$5.4 billion �C 118.2 percent up. Affected by serious natural disasters such as low temperatures and draughts China's soybean production in 2003 was about 16.5 million tons. However China's yearly soybean consumption is about 30 million tons. Therefore to meet the demand, more than 12 million tons of soybean had to be imported.
China is one of the main soybean production countries in the world. At the beginning of the 1990s as a pure soybean-export country China's yearly export once exceeded 1 million tons. Now, however, soybean has become one of the produces witnessing the biggest import size. According to data provided by Chinese Customs China's soybean import began to increase in 1999. In 2003 the size reached the largest and for the first time exceeded domestic production. Insiders predict that global soybean production will see somewhat increase this year, but demand will grow even further. As China's soybean demand continues to grow import will keep on rising.