Chinese Soy Ceremony in Iowa

Contracts to purchase more than eight million tons of soybeans were signed.

Published on: Feb 17, 2012

Chinese leaders made commitments to purchase $4.3 billion worth of U.S. soybeans during signing ceremonies that took place at the World Food Prize Center in Des Moines. Iowa Soybean Association CEO Kirk Leeds says the commitments signed total more than 317 million bushels with more soybean commitments expected in the next few days.

"They purchased about 8.6 million metric tons, although these are just intentions to purchase, they aren't binding contracts," Leeds said. "They are also going to be signing some additional contracts in Los Angeles as part of a bigger buyers' conference. We do not know the exact numbers but we anticipate that when they finish signing a few more soybean contracts in L.A. we'll be over 12 million metric tons in these signing ceremonies, which will be the largest they've ever done in any of these tours."

The Chinese delegation indicated its intentions to purchase U.S. soybeans by signing 15 contracts with U.S. companies, including Bunge, Cargill, CHS and AGP. Leeds says this was a first for Omaha-based AGP.

"With the new expansion of the harbor where AGP has its facilities  we're now going to be able to ship boatloads of beans, corn, DDGs and soybean meal because they now have storage facilities with the direct unload from the rail coming in and loading onto a ship," Leeds said. "So the exciting news in addition to all the other contracts for me was all the work we've done with AGP as a co-op to build relationships in China."

Leeds says China has been a great trading partner and a key customer of Iowa soybeans, and this agreement shows a commitment on both sides to continuing that relationship.