US soybean imports this year are likely to fall to 1.8 million tonnes from 2 million tonnes last year mainly due to lower prices as the crop takes a hit from the US-China trade dispute, the US Soybean Export Council said yesterday.
The council is seeking to strengthen trade ties with Taiwan and other markets after China, the world’s largest soybean buyer, raised tariffs on US soybeans to 25 percent and threatened another 5 percent increase in retaliation against Washington’s levies on Chinese goods.
Soybeans are a globally important crop, providing oil and protein, and high-oleic soybean oil would be the focus of the council’s marketing strategy in Taiwan, the seventh-largest buyer of US soybeans last year, US Soybean Export Council Taiwan market director Julian Lin (林裕祥) told reporters.
Taiwan imports about 2.5 million tonnes of soybeans a year, with US soybeans accounting for 86 percent last year, up from an average of 60 percent, due to goodwill purchases following China’s implementation of the tariffs.
Taiwan agreed to buy up to US$1.56 billion of soybeans from the US last year and this year.
The market share of US soybeans is set to drop below 80 percent this year now that Brazilian soybean prices have become increasingly competitive, council Taiwan marketing manager Grace Chan (詹艷庭) said.
Supportive, but not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that daily consumption of 20g of oil containing high levels of oleic acid could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, Lin said.
The major Taiwanese buyers of US soybeans are Wei Chuan Foods Corp (味全食品), Taisun Enterprise Co (泰山企業), TTET Union Corp (大統益) and Great Wall Enterprise Co (大成長城企業), the nation’s second-largest livestock breeder.
Soybean hulls are widely used as animal feed, but outbreaks of African swine fever in various nations has significantly cut demand for soybean meal, Chan said.
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