A staggering 1.55 billion soy consumers reside in the North Asian countries and the region boasts a growing middle class that is improving and diversifying its diet with an increased consumption of vegetable and animal protein and vegetable oils derived from soy. This expanding middle class currently numbers over 880 million and is led by China, which has a goal of moving a further 300 million consumers from rural lifestyles to urban lifestyles and incomes in the next fifteen years. This development trend portends well for increased soy imports and consumption as Chinese consumption of animal protein and vegetable oil among urban consumers is double that of rural consumers.
With the increase in urban incomes, it is not surprising that U.S. Soy exports of soybeans to China have recorded back-to-back record years exceeding one billion bushels each year. Looking forward, a recently commissioned USSEC research report on future soy consumption and imports indicates annual soybean imports will increase between 110 to 183 million bushels per year for the next five years.
The crushing sectors in Japan and Taiwan both increased their imports of commodity soybeans. In Japan, imports of U.S. soybeans increased 11 percent, equivalent to over 6.9 million bushels, and increasing the U.S. market share to over 65 percent. In Taiwan, the imports increased by more than 400 million bushels, pushing the market share for U.S. soybeans over 50 percent. Taiwan remains a strong destination for containerized soybeans with over 35 percent of its bulk U.S. soybean imports arriving in Taiwan in containers.
Exports of value-added IP soybeans to the North Asia region continue to chalk up successes. In Japan, the market share for U.S. soybeans in the food sector increased to 48 percent in 2014, with an increased volume of over 918,000 bushels of value-added U.S. soybeans. This increase in Japanese demand comes after nearly ten years of committed marketing efforts in Japan to reclaim market share lost to Canada and other suppliers. In Korea, USSEC’s efforts working with various industry segments to utilize U.S. soybean tariff rate quotas (TRQ) under the Korea-U.S. FTA has led to a 95 percent utilization of this preferential TRQ.
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Current North Asia News
USSEC conducted the 15th U.S. Soy Trade Price Risk Management Training on April 25 and 26 in Shanghai, China. Susan Sutherland of USSEC member CME / Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and Bell Chen from USSEC member R. J. O’Brien provided training to a total of 45 trainees, soymeal sales managers from top U.S. soybean importing companies or soybean meal purchasing managers from top U.S. soybean importers’ preferred customer feed millers. USSEC Country Director – China Xiaoping Zhang participated in this activity and promoted the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and the U.S. Soy Advantage, particularly amino acid profile, to the audience during his opening and closing remarks.
In the soybean meal business, basis contract is becoming more popular, which has closely tied soybean meal sales and purchases with futures markets on the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) and CME/CBOT. Just recently, DCE launched the first futures option contract in China’s futures trading history, i.e. options on soybean meal futures. Such market and risk management tools are so new to the majority of the feed industry that the timing is right to provide training on elementary futures trading to the industry. Additionally, an overall market outlook and case study were provided to the audience to help them better understand different market influencing factors, and hands-on practices were provided through a simulation for the audience to enhance their knowledge and skills of price risk management tools and economic effects. The audience regarded the evaluation and discussion of the strategies they used during different pricing stages in the simulation to be very valuable.
As in previous years, this program received strong support from CME/CBOT by recommending professional trainers and training materials. Tina Liao, director of client development and sales, based in Singapore, traveled to this event and provided assistance in educating the audience on futures and options basics.
USSEC Marketing Program Manager – China Yantian Zeng and Marketing Program Assistant Binbin Du organized the program and similar previous programs, which have all been well received by participants.
USSEC China was granted non-governmental organization (NGO) licenses on April 1 by the Chinese NGO authority overseeing foreign nongovernmental organizations operating in mainland China, placing USSEC’s Beijing and Shanghai representative offices among the first group of foreign NGO offices to be recognized by the Chinese government for their long-term contribution to the nation’s wellbeing and compliance with the recently-enacted law on foreign NGOs.
Two foreign NGO license handover ceremonies took place in Beijing and Shanghai simultaneously. Licenses were presented to foreign-NGO representatives by senior officials from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and the municipal NGO offices in recognition for their dedication to bilateral trade, charity, science, education, and health care and compliance with the registration requirement stipulated in China’s Foreign NGOs Management Law, which was enacted in 2016 and came into effect in 2017.
Paul Burke, USSEC Regional Director – North Asia, was greeted by Hao Yunhong, head of the NGO office of the Ministry of Public Security, who handed him the NGO license for USSEC’s Beijing representative office during the ceremony. Mr. Hao said that USSEC had been highly cooperative throughout the registration process, making the work of the NGO office much easier. Mr. Burke said USSEC would like to do what it can to make sure that it operates in China in compliance with the Chinese law.
During an interview after the ceremony, Mr. Burke told Phoenix TV that USSEC, under the new foreign NGO law, would continue to operate in China as normal, and its activities would not be negatively affected.
Under the foreign NGO law of China, foreign NGOs are required to register with the police for their existing representative offices to be officially recognized as legal entities conducting activities in mainland China.
USSEC China co-sponsored the 2017 Hebei Feed Industry Development Summit held on March 18 and 19. Approximately one thousand representatives from China’s feed mills, integrators and animal production farms participated in the event.
During the summit, Paul Burke, USSEC Regional Director -North Asia, delivered a presentation on soybean supply and demand, and the advantages and sustainability of U.S. Soy. Soybean customers expressed much interest and asked questions on the global soybean price trends, and the safety of GMO products, among other topics.
Dr. Richard Han, USSEC Technical Director – Animal Utilization (AU), China; Yantian Zeng, USSEC Marketing Program Manager; and Sunny Zhang, USSEC AU Program Manager, also attended this summit, helping promote U.S. Soy and communicating with customers at the USSEC booth.
USSEC China led a delegation of twenty to participate in the 2017 Poultry Production Training Session in Raleigh, North Carolina from March 4 – 12. The delegation was comprised of representatives from China’s poultry integrators, feed mills, and poultry farms.
During the training session organized by USSEC, the delegation visited Cargill Grain Crushing Plant, Strickland Farm, and a Perdue chicken farm. They also trained at North Carolina State University on poultry management, housing and equipment, intestinal health, and quality assurance programs.
USSEC China Animal Utilization (AU) Director Dr. Richard Han and AU Program Manager Sunny Zhang escorted the delegation. Dr. Han delivered a briefing on the sustainability of U.S. Soy and USSEC activities.