Chinese buyers committed in September to purchase nearly $1.8 billion worth of U.S. soy from 146 million bu. of U.S. soybeans. The order became even larger Oct. 14 when Chinese buyers signed contracts for an additional order of 5.1 million tons of soybeans worth $2.1 billion.
The new commitments were signed at a ceremony held in Des Moines, Iowa, that was attended by seven of the top Chinese buyers of U.S. soy, Chinese commerce officials, top Iowa state officials and representatives from the U.S. soy industry. The signing ceremony was hosted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the Iowa Soybean Assn. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa secretary of agriculture Bill Northey were also in attendance.
Branstad talked about the trust, honor and respect that have helped foster the long relationship between China's President Xi Jinping and U.S. soybean farmers and shared a photograph that shows the Chinese leader’s first visit to Iowa in 1985. “It’s pretty neat to have the president of China call you an ‘old friend,'” he said.
This year, U.S. soybean farmers are projected to export a record amount of soy and soy products — exceeding the 62.88 million metric tons of soy and soy products valued at $27.7 billion in 2015. International buyers are turning to U.S. soy for a variety of reasons, including its quality, sustainability and reliability, to name a few.
Brian Zhenhu, president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce & Animal By-products, spoke about the trade collaboration between the U.S. and China. “This signing ceremony is just one manifestation of our cooperation,” he said.
These sentiments were echoed by the U.S. soybean industry.
“We were honored to be joined by a group of Chinese provincial officials and crush company representatives who traveled 7,000 miles to meet with U.S. exporters to sign 16 purchasing agreements,” said Jim Miller, chair of USSEC, director of the American Soybean Assn. and a Nebraska soybean farmer. “These agreements are an example of the strong partnerships between the U.S. soy value chain and the international buyers who purchase our crop.”