China Is Here For The Beans

MINNESOTA - In the soybean export game, there really are just two customers now: China and everyone else. The Chinese buy nearly half of U.S. soybeans, making them a player of unparalleled importance to farmers, grain markets and exporters half a world away.

So when a high-level Chinese trade delegation visits Minnesota today, with plans to sign a ceremonial soybean trade pact at the State Capitol, all the world's grain markets — and politicians on three continents — will be paying close attention.

"China is really the only game in town when it comes to soybeans," said Darin Newsom, senior grain analyst with DTN, a provider of business data. "The world's two largest soybean producers are the United States and Brazil, and they're locked in a battle for the largest part of that (Chinese) business. If the Chinese are in town, you can guarantee that we'll do all we can to show them the benefits of U.S. soybeans."

If Americans are eager sellers, the Chinese are just as eager buyers. And not only because of China's booming, ravenous economy.

Facing growing U.S. criticism for their colossal trade surplus, the Chinese are hoping to quell protectionist sentiments by sending trade delegations across the United States to make huge and showy purchases of U.S. products — Boeing jetliners from Seattle, software from Silicon Valley and soybeans from the Midwest.

Bob Worth, a farmer and president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, agrees that meeting China's needs is critical.

"We need to keep giving them top-quality products and work with them, because aquaculture is growing at a tremendous rate over there, and soybean meal is a great product for that," Worth said. China's poultry and pork industries also are growing, he said, and they also use "a tremendous amount of soybean meal."

Source: Twin Cities
calendar icon 7 April 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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