China continued to renew its commitment to U.S. soybeans this week. Monday the American Soybean Association president signed an agreement with China that promotes continued trade and cooperation with China.
In a Capitol Hill trade conference, ASA President Bob Metz signed the memorandum of understanding with Cao Xumin, President of China's Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products.
The three-year agreement between CFNA and the American Soybean Association International Marketing renews a 2003 agreement. It includes measures to increase trade and cooperation, such as the exchange of information on topics ranging from soybean growing conditions to solutions to trade issues. The parties will also conduct training programs for U.S. soybean end-users as well as downstream industries in China related to feed and animal production. The groups will link Web sites to facilitate the exchange of member companies of both parties. North American Export Grain Association also signed an agreement with CNFA and will conduct seminars in China in 2006.
The signing wrapped up the delegations tour that began last week. USDA Under Secretary J.B. Penn and other USDA leaders, as well as NAEGA representatives, participated in the program that helped wrap up the Chinese delegation's trip to the United States, which also included visits in Illinois and Minnesota.
The Chinese participants were responsible for 67% of all the soybeans imported into China each year. In addition to CFNA, participants included members of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce and Inspection and Quarantine Authority, along with representatives of Chinese companies. Chinese speakers at the conference cited aquaculture and increasing incomes as drivers for China's growing demand for soybeans. Vice-Minister for the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture Niu Dun projected China increasing its soybean demand by 10% every year.
Last year, China imported more than 435 million bushels (valued at more than $2.5 billion) of U.S. soybeans, making it the world's largest importer of U.S. soybeans. Total U.S. exports last year of 1.1 billion bushels were valued at more than $6.3 billion, the highest value U.S. commodity export.