China-less US farmers look to Sri Lankan market
The ongoing trade war between China and the US has caused desperate US soybean farmers to explore the possibility of Sri Lanka becoming a bigger buyer of their produce, reports Reuters.
China is America’s biggest customer of soybeans, but with it imposing a 25% tariff on US imports in July, the farmers have started looking for alternatives, even those much smaller than China.
Statistics indicate that Sri Lanka bought about 3,000 metric tons of US soybeans at $ 48 million in 2017, while China bought about 32 million tons the same year. This means that the US would need about 11,000 markets the size of Sri Lanka to match Chinese soybean demand.
The heated trade war between the two economic giants has caused the US to seek new markets – any new trade opportunities they come across despite the comparatively small numbers.
According to the report, Sri Lankan Department of Agriculture Director General and Agronomist W.M.W. Weerakoon had visited the US in September with some Government officials to discuss soybean trade. Although no concrete agreement was reached on whether Sri Lanka would increase soybean imports from the US, the low prices are said to have gained Sri Lanka’s interest.
On the venture of seeking new customers for soybeans, US managed to strike deals with Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to collectively spend $ 49 million over the next 12 months on US agricultural goods, ranging from feed grains to wine.
After corn, soybeans are the most planted agricultural crop in the US.