China clears way for Brazilian corn imports to fill Ukraine gap
China’s customs authority finalised an agreement to allow imports of Brazilian corn, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday, lining up an alternative to U.S. corn to replace imports from Ukraine.
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Similar agreements covering imports of soy protein and soymeal from Brazil are expected to be concluded during talks next month, an official involved in the negotiations told Reuters, requesting anonymity.
Almost all of China’s corn imports currently come from the United States and Ukraine. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted crop shipments from the Black Sea and shifted global trading, with importers and food companies scrambling to find other suppliers.
“It was strategic consideration by the state to diversify imports origins,” said a China-based trader who declined to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.
China’s corn imports soared to a record in 2021, as tightening supplies pushed up domestic prices.
The U.S. accounted for nearly 70 per cent of China’s corn imports last year and the U.S. share had been expected to increase due to the need to find alternatives to Ukraine, the trader said.
Now Beijing’s deal with Brazil may reduce U.S. exports to China. China could also emerge as a rival to buyers from the European Union seeking imports of corn from Brazil, market analysts said.