EU imports of US soybeans skyrocketing

Data released this week from European Commission confirms that United States soybeans have become the leading supplier of soybeans to the European Union (EU).

The Jan. 7 update reported that EU imports of U.S. number 5.2 million tones from July to December 2018, an increase of 112 percent from the same period in 2017.

“There was a silver lining in the trade war with China, and this is certainly encouraging to our producers,” says Minnesota Soybean Director of Market Development Kim Nill. “Because of the Chinese tariffs, other customers stepped up and bought out beans, and this development with the European Union certainly reflects that.”

The increase in U.S. soybean imports follows a meeting last summer between President Donald Trump and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker that laid the groundwork for reduced barriers and increased trade.

Kim Nill
Kim Nill, Minnesota Soybean director of market development

Overall, the United States accounted for 75 percent of EU soybean imports during the July-December 2018 period, followed by Brazil (19 percent), Canada (2 percent) , Ukraine (1.6 percent) and Paraguay (1 percent). In July-December 2017, the United States accounted for 39 percent of the EU’s total soybean imports.

“European imports of U.S. soya beans are bound to increase even further, following the decision by the European Commission to launch the process for authorizing the use of U.S. soybeans for biofuels,” the EC said.

The EU imports roughly 14 million tonnes of soybeans per year. Soybeans are as a source of animal protein, as well as for milk production.

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