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COFCO Gearing up to Buy More Soybeans from Brazil

As trade tensions between the U.S. and China escalate, COFCO, China’s food giant, has quickly and quietly been building up and readying its team to buy more soybeans from Brazil, the world’s largest soybean exporter.

Though the threatened tariffs on U.S. soybeans have not yet been implemented by China, many are canceling orders from the U.S. in preparation, and others, such as COFCO are focused on strengthening relationships with other origination destinations, such as Brazil.

COFCO is already the third largest importer of soybeans from Brazil, behind Bunge and Tokyo-based Marubeni Corp, and unnamed sources indicate that it recently hired a dozen people to work directly with farmers in Mato Grosso, Goias, Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul states. This is in addition to the team of 350 that COFCO has in Brazil in its commercial department.

China is the world’s biggest buyer of soybeans, purchasing 79 percent of the share in 2017, up from 70 percent in 2012, and raising volume purchased from 22.6 million tons to 53.8 million tons over that period.

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