July 11, 2018 / 2:39 AM / a month ago

COFCO says China can replace U.S. soy imports with alternatives - state media

BEIJING, July 11 (Reuters) - China can increase soybean imports from other countries to reduce reliance on buying from the United States, the president of state grains trader COFCO said in an interview with the Communist Party’s official People’s Daily paper on Wednesday.

Yu Xubo said in the interview that China can increase soybean imports from South American countries amid an escalating trade dispute with the United States that has seen the world’s two biggest economies impose new import tariffs on each other’s goods.

Yu said China can also buy more rapeseed, sunflower seeds, and bring in more soybean meal, rapeseed meal, sunflower meal and fishmeal to fill any supply gaps. Increasing meat imports is also an option, he said.

The comments from a senior COFCO executive come amid concerns that hefty import tariffs applied by Beijing on American goods, including soybeans, will inflate costs for farmers and potentially increase retail prices of foods, like pork, the nation’s favourite meat.

China imposed the penalties on Friday in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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