September 11, 2003



15 Cargoes Foreign Soybeans Arrived In China September 1-10


About 15 cargoes of 55,000 metric tons each of foreign soybeans arrived at Chinese ports in the first ten days of September, Chinese traders monitoring imports said Thursday.


"About 15 cargoes have arrived at the ports in China in the first ten days of September, sharply higher than the (quantity) in the same period in August," said a trader from a Hong Kong-based oilseeds company.


In the first 10 days of August, China received about 11 cargoes of soybeans, traders said.


"People have to rush to get their cargoes into China before Sept. 20, as nobody knows for sure what could happen after that date. Crushers can't afford to run out of raw materials when the demand for soybean products is seasonally strong," said an analyst from a local brokerage house in Dalian, Liaoning province.


China recently extended its interim rules on crops containing genetically modified organisms to April 30, 2004, from Sept. 20 this year. Importers have to apply for fresh GMO import documents to bring in soybean cargoes after Sept. 20. Cargoes can only be unloaded after all the documents are obtained. However, traders have questioned the fate of cargoes arriving after Sept. 20 due to the slow issuance of documents, especially from the quarantine authority.


Imports To Slow Down In September


Despite the higher imports in early September, total imports this month will slow significantly compared with previous months because of concerns that documents for imports of GMO soybeans won't be issued on time, traders and analysts added.


In September, China is likely to receive 1.5 million tons of imported soybeans, and most, if not all, are expected to arrive in the first twenty days of the month, traders said.


Soybean imports in August are estimated to be slightly higher than 2.2 million tons, but the actual customs figure could be lower as some cargoes that lack import documents haven't been unloaded yet.


In July 2003, China imported 2.12 million tons of soybeans, according to data from the Chinese customs office.


In the marketing year from Oct. 2002 to Sept. 2003, China's soybean imports are forecast to reach 18.2 million tons, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates released in August. The USDA is due to revise the estimates Sept. 11.
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