Majority EU soybeans now supplied by US

01-10-2018 | |
Photo: Dreamstime
Photo: Dreamstime

The United States has doubled its share of supplying soyabeans to the European Union over the period of a year.

This is according to the latest figures announced by the European Commission this week, the US now supplies 52% of the crop to the EU. This is double the supply the US sent to the EU in the previous year and makes it the main supplier.

Competitive prices

The EU currently imports about 14 million tonnes of soybeans per year as a source of protein to feed its animals, including chicken, pigs and cattle, as well as for milk production. “Soybeans from the US happen to be a very attractive feed option for European importers and users thanks to their competitive prices,” it said. European Commission Juncker issued a joint statement with US President Trump following a meeting in Washington on 25 July, in which the two sides agreed to increase trade in several areas and products, notably soybeans.

Reporting mechanism

In order to monitor the evolution of trade in soybeans, president Juncker put in place a reporting mechanism according to which imports from the United States increased by 133% compared to the same period in the previous year from July to mid-September. EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, said: “I welcome the latest trade figures which show that we are delivering on the commitment made by presidents Juncker and Trump to increase trade, particularly in relation to soy beans. “This reflects both our long-standing trade relationship and the potential to achieve so much more by working together to build on that relationship.

The report from Europe said current figures show that imports of US soybeans to the EU have been continuously increasing over the past weeks. Compared to the first 12 weeks of the 2017 marketing year EU imports of soyabeans from the United States are up by 133% at 1,473,749 tonnes”.

US ahead of Brazil

At the time of the first reporting issued on 1 August 2018, and covering the first 5 weeks of the current marketing year, imports amounted to 360,000 tonnes, corresponding to a 280% year-on-year increase. In terms of the EU’s total imports of soybeans the US share is now at 52%, compared to 25% in the same period last year. This puts the US ahead of Brazil which supplied 40%, the EU’s second main supplier, followed by Canada at 2.3%, Paraguay at 2.3% and Uruguay at 1.7%. The data included in the report on soybeans comes from the Crops Market Observatory which the European Commission launched in July 2017 to share market data and short-term analysis to ensure more transparency.

Chris McCullough Freelance multi-media journalist