China drops tariffs on feed ingredients from 5 Asian countries

BEIJING • China will remove import tariffs on animal feed ingredients including soya beans, soya meal and rapeseed from five Asian countries, a sign that Beijing is seeking alternative supplies of the commodities as a trade dispute escalates with the United States.

China will drop its border tax to zero on soya beans, soya bean oil, rapeseed, cow and sheep fat, among other products, starting on July 7, a list published yesterday by China's state council shows.

The date comes five days before Beijing is scheduled to impose new tariffs on the US, a major supplier of farm goods like the soya beans used widely in animal feed.

As the world's largest importer of soya beans, with US$14 billion (S$19 billion) in imports from the US last year, analysts are worried the planned tariffs could cause the price of animal feed to rise in the world's second-largest economy. Beijing has ordered its farmers to grow more of the crop and has been increasing imports from Brazil and Argentina, while India has also exported the beans to China in the past.

"(The tariff cut) demonstrates the government's attitude that we will import from other countries. The market will understand from this that it's a signal," said Shanghai JC Intelligence analyst Monica Tu.

Besides India, the countries included are relatively small soya bean producers. None of them exported the oilseed to China last year.

Beijing's move to cut tariffs on feed imports occurs less than two weeks after it said it would impose additional 25 per cent tariffs on 659 US goods worth US$50 billion, including soya beans, as a trade spat between the world's top two economies grows.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'China drops tariffs on feed ingredients from 5 Asian countries'. Print Edition | Subscribe