ASA Inks Soybean Cooperation Agreement with China

first_imgThe American Soybean Association (ASA) today signed a cooperation agreement with representatives of the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce & Animal By-Products (CFNA) in support of continued U.S. soybean exports to China. The ceremony was held at the Chicago Board of Trade.”We have just signed an agreement on cooperation between CFNA and ASA, in which we agreed to begin a wide range of mutually beneficial exchanges and activities, including the exchange of delegations between our two organizations,” said ASA Chairman Dwain Ford, a producer from Kinmundy, Ill. “As a representative of U.S. soybean farmers, I can tell you that we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”Among the distinguished delegates from China were Mr. Liao Xiaoqi, Vice Minister of Commerce; Mr. Cao Xu Min, President of the CFNA; Mr. Xia Hongmin, Deputy Administrator of the State Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine; and Mr. Deng Qinghai, Deputy Director General of Development and Planning, from the Ministry of Agriculture.ASA’s mission in China has always been one of working closely with Chinese aquaculture, livestock, feed milling, and soybean processing industries to increase the demand and preference for U.S. soybeans within these industries. This work not only increased demand for U.S. soybeans, but also resulted in the production of better and more food for the Chinese people.Long before China imported soybeans, ASA producer-leaders decided to open an office in China to begin building demand for U.S. soybeans. That was 21 years ago. More recently, ASA’s 25,000 farmer-members were politically active in supporting China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and successfully urged the U.S. Congress to grant China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status.China is now the United States’ largest customer for soybeans and it is a growing market. In the marketing year that ended August 31, China purchased nearly 7.7 million metric tons (283 million bushels) of U.S. soybeans with an estimated farm-gate value of $1.6 billion. In the current marketing year that began on September 1, 2003, China already has purchased over 7.35 million metric tons with a farm-gate value of $2 billion, and ASA anticipates more business will be completed over the coming days and months.”To the soybean farmer, these are very exciting trade figures,” Ford said. “China is and will continue to be a critical market to the American soybean farmer. It is ASA’s commitment to continue to work with China to further build demand and preference for U.S. soybeans.”Since opening the first office in 1982, the scope of ASA’s work in China has grown from technical services to livestock and feed production to the current important work with China’s livestock producers, feed millers, aquaculture industry, soybean processors, and the traders and distributors who supply their protein needs. Today, ASA has a staff of highly respected livestock, aquaculture, feed milling and marketing experts located in offices in Beijing and Shanghai. ASA’s activities to expand international markets for U.S. soybeans and products are made possible by producer checkoff dollars invested by the United Soybean Board and various State Soybean Councils, as well as by cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.While U.S. soybean farmers have greatly benefited from ASA’s work in China, so have Chinese consumers. Today, imports of soybeans from the United States allow China to keep meat and vegetable oil supplied and prices under control for Chinese consumers.”ASA’s work in China has created additional demand in China from the livestock and aquaculture industries, and Chinese soybean producers also have benefited from this additional demand building,” Ford said. “ASA is proud of the role it has played in helping make China the number one export market for U.S. soybeans.”Ford said that the road to this point has been both rewarding and challenging. At times, U.S. soybean exports have faced issues such as trade restrictions, import permit delays, confusion over biotechnology regulations and problems with transparency. These issues have hurt both China and the United States. Ford said that future prosperity lies in ensuring that the major buyers of U.S. soybeans in China can operate knowing that they have a free and unencumbered flow of soybeans from the United States.”As soybean producers, we need to know that the markets that we produce for will be there when we harvest,” Ford said. “If we can work under those circumstances, we will all be prosperous. It is my hope that this delegation, and the joint agreement we just signed, will help ensure that soybean trade between our two great nations continues unencumbered and we can operate our businesses efficiently without having to focus on trade policy issues.”last_img read more

Continue Reading