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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Imports of US soybeans set for expansion

By Zhou Siyu (China Daily)

13:39, March 21, 2012

China, the world's largest consumer and importer of soybeans, is expected to step up purchases of the grain from the US to supply the domestic livestock industry as it expands to feed the growing urban population.

China replaced Canada as the largest importer of US agricultural products in 2011. In 2010, 60 percent of all US soybean exports were destined for China, amounting to 25 percent of the US soybean crop.

In February, a Chinese trade delegation consisting of major State-owned food companies such as China National Cereals, Oil and Foodstuffs Corp and China Grain Reserves Corporation (also known as Sinograin), agreed to a record purchase: 13.4 million tons of soybeans valued at $6.7 billion.

The country also imports soybeans from South American growers such as Brazil and Argentina.

"We believe the growth (of US soybean exports to China) will continue in the next few years," said Kirk Leeds, chief executive officer of the Iowa Soybean Association.

Driven by urbanization, China's demand will continue to grow and US soybeans will take "a significant portion of a much larger market", Leeds said on Monday during a visit to Beijing.

China-US agricultural trade could be used as an example for other sectors and a way to enhance bilateral relations, Leeds added.

"Our organization is seeing if we can create politically acceptable opportunities for China to invest in infrastructure in the US," he said.

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