One of the U.S.'s biggest agricultural companies has claimed China is "deliberately not buying" American soybeans, with data showing Brazilian farmers are already taking advantage of Washington's stance on trade.
Soren Schroder, the CEO of Wall Street-listed agribusiness Bunge Ltd, told Bloomberg "whatever they're [Chinese importers] buying is non-U.S.…They're buying beans in Canada, in Brazil, mostly Brazil, but very deliberately not buying anything from the U.S.."
Several Chinese agricultural media websites back up the claim, with feedtrade.com.cn reporting that China has "completely stopped buying" American soybeans in the past two weeks, after shipments carrying 62,920 tons of U.S. soybeans bound for China were turned around in the two-week-period ending April 19.
Customs data for March show U.S. soybean exports to China fell by 27 percent, with Brazilian farmers stepping in to see their soybean exports to the Middle Kingdom jump by more than 30 percent to 2.33 million tons. Russian soybean exports to China also benefited, doubling to 150,000 tons.
As CGTN reported earlier in April, China reacted to U.S. trade tariffs by putting 25 percent levies on American imports of 106 different goods and products, including soybeans.
While Chinese farmers told CGTN they didn't expect the tariffs to have much impact, U.S. soybean farmers and agricultural bodies have pleaded with U.S. President Donald Trump to rethink his trade policies.