ISA Hosts Foreign Trade Teams in August

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) hosted several foreign trade groups on Illinois farms during August. Many of the international buyers and users of soy were in the country for USSEC’s SoyConnext conference in San Diego, CA, and had the chance to stop through Illinois to see all that our trade and export program has to offer.

Two groups from Europe, which included 57 commodity traders, purchasers, meal traders or animal nutrition experts from countries such as Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, stopped through Illinois to discuss expansion in meal capacity.

ISA Trade Analyst Eric Woodie notes that the EU oilseed market is highly sensitive to the developing situation in Ukraine. As a result of the Russian invasion and lingering effects of the pandemic, high prices and limited availability for inputs such as seed, fuel, fertilizers, and chemicals have had a negative impact on oilseed production in the EU. The EU relies heavily on Ukraine to supply sunflower and rapeseed products in addition to inputs that could lead to lower yields if supplies are disrupted.

U.S. soybean exports to the EU have slowly declined since their peak in marketing year 18/19 at 7.27 million metric tons (MMT). However, this marketing year, exports are up 8% through June, 4.38 MMT, over the same period last year.

Another trade team from India visited soybean farms across the Midwest in late August, including a stop at ISA Board Director Jeff Parker’s farm in Belleville, IL.

Exports of soybean oil to India have risen sharply in the last several years. From marketing year 16/17 to marketing year 19/20, the U.S. exported negligible volumes of soybean oil to India. However, beginning in marketing year 20/21, U.S. soybean oil exports have increased substantially. This increase is largely attributed to domestic demand for edible oils in India outpacing production and a rising need for imports to fulfill domestic demand.

In August 2021, the Indian government allowed up to 1.5 MMT of genetically modified soybean meal to be imported into the country, which is impactful as soybean meal is India’s most widely used protein source for animal feed.

According to ISA Trade and Exports Manager Eileen Urish, building relationships with India is becoming increasingly important to Illinois farmers as we continue to explore trade opportunities with them.

A final trade team including seven delegates from Taiwan made their way through Illinois in August as ISA hosted them at its Lombard office. While in Illinois, the delegates were able to visit CHS in Morris, DeLong and BNSF, and finally visited a soybean farm in Genoa, IL.

Woodie reports that soybean imports account for 96 percent of Taiwan’s soybean use and imports are expected to slightly increase as the country recovers from the pandemic.