EUROPE – The European Union soybean imports from the United States has increased by 112% to 5,181,833 tons in the second half of 2019, making it the top destination of US soybean exports, according to statistics from the European Commission.
During the period from July to December 2018, US was Europe’s number one supplier of soybeans, with a share of 75% of EU soybeans imports.
While the US-China trade remains impulsive, US soybeans found cradle in Argentina (10%) and Mexico (9%) with Europe (28%) remaining by far the top export destination.
The EU imports about 14 million tons of soybeans per year as a source of protein to feed animals, including chicken, pigs and cattle, as well as for milk production.
China-US trade standoff
Since the beginning of the trade war between China and the US, fears have been expressed from both parties on the impact of the unthoughtful moves on agriculture and the overall economy.
China, a major destination of US soybeans, slapped tariffs on the legumes as part of a retaliation package to the latter’s ‘protection’ strategy.
The industry continues to advocate for an understanding and long-term solution, especially the US farmers who lamented loss of export market for agricultural produce.
Statistics show that at the wake of another feud despite a truce between President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping, China’s US soybean imports have dwindled.
Figures revealed that the US had overtaken Brazil as the leading soybean supplier to the European Union with a 52%.
A USDA report revealed that China made a purchase of 300,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans, the first major purchase made since the trade war was declared in July last year.
Reports also indicate that Chinese importers made their third largest soybean purchase from the US in the last month as the officials from both countries met to see way-forward to the ‘90-days ceasefire’ truce agreed in December last year.
Strengthening ties with the EU
In July 2018, EU President Junker and US President Trump declared a Joint Statement to increase trade in several areas and products, notably soybeans.
For the full 2018 calendar year, 50% of Europe’s imports originated in the US and 36% in Brazil (compared to 37% in 2017).
The European Commission in December 2018 launched a public consultation on the decision to authorize the use of US soybeans for biofuels in Europe.
This is set to increase trade between the EU and the US even after the commission issued a statement stating that the US Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol submitted by US soy exporters meets the mandatory sustainability requirements of EU legislation for their use in biofuels.