December 16, 2003



China-US Soybean Trade Talk Starts Wednesday


Members from top grain companies in the United States are set to meet China trade officials on Wednesday, that could be followed by the "ceremonial" signing of soybean purchase contracts.


Steve Censky, chief executive of the American Soybean Association will host the Chinese delegation scheduled for tomorrow's afternoon.


"The big guys will all be there," he said, referring to top grain companies from the United States.


He said the meetings would allow both parties to discuss the supply situation -- a short crop in the United States that pushed prices to six-year highs recently -- and demand from China, the world's top soy buyer and the biggest U.S. market.


Censky was uncertain if the Chinese delegation would sign any contracts to buy U.S. soybeans either on Wednesday, or Thursday when its members will attend a seminar at the Chicago Board of Trade and sign a cooperation agreement with the ASA.


An industry source said there could a "ceremonial inking of contracts" on Thursday as a goodwill gesture by members of the Chinese delegation for soybeans they had already booked.


Last week, a Chinese industry official said the visiting team would buy about 1.5 million tons of soybeans.


Government data showed that China has bought 7.35 million tons of U.S. soybeans since the current marketing year began September 1, and there are expectations it could buy a total 8 - 10 million tons by the time the season is over.