American farmers afraid of losing soybean market in China

CHINA - The Wall Street Journal recently published an article saying that "China's imports of soybeans [have been] a boon for US farmers in recent years." Now the farmers are becoming concerned they will lose their market as China increases its soybean imports from South American countries.
calendar icon 31 August 2006
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Chinese market gave US farmers reason to hope
The US is one of the largest soybean exporters in the world. Soybean exports each year determine the livelihoods of farmers, and the impact can be far-reaching, affecting even national politics. The US' primary market used to be Europe, but it was forced to look elsewhere after suffering heavy blows when the European market stagnated. In 1996, Europe imported 8 million tons of soybeans from the US; in 2005 they only purchased 2 million tons. The emergence of the Chinese market gave the American farmers reason to hope again.

In 2005, the US exported US$2.3 billion worth of soybeans to China, an increase of 80 percent from 2001. Soybean has become the US' third-largest export to China (after airplanes and semiconductors). China is the soybean farmers' biggest overseas market. Roy Bardole, a 63-year farmer from Iowa, produced 1090 tons of soybeans last year on his 48-hectare farm. He sold these soybeans to an agricultural cooperation, which then resold them to a large agriculture export group.

"Since Europe suspended its soybean imports from the US, the market has suffered heavy losses. However, at this point in time, the Chinese market appeared," said Bardole. "Since China became a big buyer, our life has become better again. The export price is high; as a result, we have made money from it."

Source: Peoples Daily Online

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