What Happened: Argentine and Chinese officials are expected to sign an agreement on Sept. 11 that could pave the way for Argentine soybean meal exports to China for the first time, Reuters reported Sept. 10.
Why It Matters: China has long been protective of its domestic soybean crushing industry and remained hesitant to import already-processed soybean meal. However, the ongoing U.S.-China trade war has spurred Beijing's need to diversify its sources of soybean and soy product imports from alternatives such as Brazil and Argentina. Washington, meanwhile, continues to push for greater Chinese soybean imports from the United States to boost the U.S. agricultural sector.
Background: China imported almost 100 million metric tons of soybeans in 2017. However, Chinese imports of the product declined by 7.9 percent in 2018 and will likely drop more as a result of a recent outbreak of African swine fever that decimated China's swine herds. Limited demand has allowed Beijing to withhold large agricultural purchases from the United States and diversify its supply structures.