EU imports of U.S. soybeans were already on the rise before an announcement in July that the EU would increase its purchase of U.S. soy.
According to a report, the increase was due to falling prices in June, after China stopped buying U.S. soybeans as part of a trade rift between the two countries. In addition, EU imports from Brazil and Paraguay fell sharply, and U.S. exports to the EU increased more than 280 percent in the first five weeks of the 2018-19 marketing year, compared with the previous year.
Numbers released by the EU Commission show that Brazil is still the largest exporter to the EU, but more than one-third of EU’s imports of soybeans and soybean meal came from the U.S.
“The European Union can import more soybeans from the U.S. and this is happening as we speak,” EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement. “This is a win-win situation for European and American citizens.”
In a joint statement on July 25, Juncker and U.S. President Donald Trump said agreed that while future cooperation on trade will not include agriculture, the EU and U.S. would work to increase trade in soybeans. The figures show that imports of U.S. soybeans to the EU have been increasing:
- Compared with July 2017, EU imports of soybeans from the United States are up by 283 percent
- In terms of the EU’s total imports of soybeans, the U.S. share is now at 37 percent, compared with 9 percent in July 2017
- Imports of soymeal, which are traditionally lower with regards to the U.S., are also on the rise – 185,000 tons were imported in July 2018, an increase of 3,337 percent compared with July 2017
- The U.S. is now supplying 13 percent of EU soymeal imports compared to 0.3 percent in July 2017.
“The EU needs soya in Europe as a source of protein to feed our animals, including chicken, pigs and cattle, as well as for milk production,” the press release from the European Commission said. “The EU currently imports about 30 million tonnes per year because it cannot produce sufficient quantities. U.S. prices for both soybeans and soymeal are currently the most competitive on the market and therefore a very attractive feed option for European importers and users.