The North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) recently completed two trade missions to Asia focused on the state’s food grade, identity preserved soybeans. A trade mission to Indonesia in March and a trade mission to China in April both increased the visibility of North Dakota’s food grade soybeans within rising soy markets. One-on-one meetings with potential buyers and food processors as well as market tours provided further understanding of the needs of two promising U.S. soybean markets.
Delegates traveled to Surabaya, Indonesia on March 18 – 22 for the 13th edition of the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s (USSEC) Southeast Asia Soy Food Symposium. The symposium brought together international experts and regional key stakeholders to share their insights on the global soybean trade, consumption trends, transformation technologies and innovations in soy food and beverages within the region.
NDTO worked with USSEC to arrange one-on-one meetings between North Dakota companies and Indonesian soybean buyers. Delegates also met with potential buyers from India and other Southeast Asian countries.
Soybeans and soyfoods are widely popular in Indonesia, using a blend of non-food grade and food grade soybeans. Although the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture has made an effort to become self-sufficient in soybeans, imports have not decreased as soybean consumption continues to grow along with the population.
On April 12-16, North Dakota companies visited Shanghai and Anhui province in China during a trade mission supported by the North Dakota Soybean Council. Participants attended the Bean Product Committee of China’s (BPCC) 2018 China Soyfood Processing Equipment Conference & Exhibition in Shanghai. NDTO staff presented on North Dakota soybeans and a representative from the Northern Crops Institute provided education on the technical aspects of North Dakota soybeans to an audience of soybean buyers and soyfood processors.
In Anhui Province, participants attended a market opportunity tour organized by USSEC. NDTO staff also recruited Chinese soybean buyers to visit North Dakota during a reverse trade mission planned for August 2018.
China’s food grade soybean market has huge potential. According to BPCC, about 11 million tons of food grade soybeans are currently used in the Chinese food industry, with that number to rise to 18 million tons by 2020. However, recent Chinese tariff proposals on U.S. soybeans have brought a level of uncertainty into the market. Trade flows are currently in flux as questions remain on who will meet China’s growing demand for soybeans.