March 2000 Edition
China Increases Imports of Oilseeds at the Expense of Meals and Oils
China has become the largest importer of oilseeds in the world. Imports of oilseeds have risen dramatically, from 795,000 tons in 1995/96 to an estimated 8.2 million in 1999/00. The increased oilseeds imports come at the expense of meal and oil imports. Soyoil imports are forecast to drop to 725,000 tons from 1.65 million tons in 1997/98 and 950,000 tons in 1998/99. Soymeal imports are forecast to drop even more precipitously to only 500,000 tons, from 4.2 million 1997/98. The shift into oilseeds is due to a number of factors, highlighted by the current Chinese government policy that protects the domestic crushing industry. Soybean meal imports were restricted starting in early 1999 by the implemention of a 13-percent Value Added Tax (VAT). China also sought to stem oil imports by limiting the amount of import licenses, and cracking down on illegal smuggling of edible oils into its borders. As a result, China is expected to import 5.0 million tons of soybeans in the 1999/2000 marketing year, up over 24 percent from last year. According to USDA's export sales report, total U.S. export commitments to China reached 2.96 million tons of soybeans by the end of February. Rapeseed imports have also risen dramatically in the last two years to an estimated 3.2 million tons, as crushers take advantage of its high oil content.
Approved by the World Agricultural Outlook Board/USDA