The U.S. soybean industry is very optimistic about the future relationship with the Chinese soybean processing and utilization industries, a business official said in an email interview with Xinhua.[Special Coverage]
"We expect China's economy to grow, consumers' income to increase and urbanization to expand," Paul Burke, North Asia regional director of U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), said.
Those trends, along with China's goals to eliminate poverty, will lead to increased demand and consumption of animal protein and vegetable oil, resulting in increased imports of U.S. soybeans, he added.
USSEC Chairman Jim Miller is in the delegation accompanying U.S. President Donald Trump on his visit to China that started on Wednesday. Burke disclosed that USSEC just signed a letter of intent about soybean purchase deal with Chinese counterpart during the visit in Beijing.
"Through participation in this trade mission, USSEC will highlight to both the Chinese and the USA governments the importance of the bilateral trade in soybeans," Burke said.
Burke pointed out that U.S. soybean exports to China generate 14.5 billion U.S. dollars in revenue for U.S. soybean producers. China also needs soybeans to meet its growing consumer demand for meat and vegetable oil.
Soybean is a staple product China imports from the United States. "In those 35 years U.S. soybean farmers invested over 150 million dollars in projects that transferred technology and management expertise to modernize China's soy processing, feed manufacturing and livestock, poultry and aquaculture production," he said.
U.S. soybean producers are proud that their strategy of "win-win" industry development has contributed to China, Burke said, adding that they "intend to continue to invest in the programs in the future to further its relations with the Chinese soy processing and utilization industries."
Burke told Xinhua that U.S. soybean producers had their fourth record exports to China in 2016, as China purchased and imported nearly 30 percent of the soybeans produced in the United States.
China is the world's largest soybean importer. According to statistics of China Customs, China imported 83.91 million tons of soybean in 2016, rising by 2.7 percent from 2015 and hitting a historical high. Some 38.2 million tons of the amount came from the United States, accounting for 40 percent of the total.