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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — U.S. soybean imports into the European Union surged 283% over the past year, bringing the E.U.’s total share of imports of U.S. soybeans to 37%, up from 9% one year ago, according to the European Commission’s latest report.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has now put in place a bi-monthly reporting mechanism on the evolution of trade in soybeans from the United States to the E.U. This is the first follow-up to the E.U.-U.S. joint statement agreed in Washington, D.C., U.S., between Commission President Juncker and U.S. President Donald Trump.

“The European Union can import more soybeans from the U.S. and this is happening as we speak,” Juncker said. “This is a win-win situation for European and American citizens.”

Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture, expressed positivity in furthering the trade relationship between the E.U. and the United States.

“The European Union and the United States have been longstanding partners and there is room to further strengthen our trade relationship,” Hogan said. “We expressed our willingness to import more soybeans from the United States and this is already happening. European and American farmers have much to gain by working together.”

In a joint statement on July 25, Juncker and Trump agreed that while future cooperation on trade will not include agriculture as such, the E.U. and United States would work to increase trade in soybeans. The current figures show that imports of U.S. soybeans to the E.U. have been increasing:

  • Compared to July 2017, E.U. imports of soybeans from the United States are currently up by 283%, at 360,000 tonnes;
  • In terms of the E.U.’s total imports of soybeans the U.S. share is now at 37%, compared to 9% in July 2017;
  • Imports of soymeal, which are traditionally lower with regards to the United States, are also on the rise — 185,000 tonnes were imported in July 2018, an increase of 3,337% compared with July 2017;
  • The United States is now supplying 13% of E.U. soymeal imports compared to 0.3% in July 2017.

According to the European Commission, the E.U. needs soy in Europe as a source of protein to feed animals, including chicken, pigs and cattle, as well as for milk production. The E.U. currently imports about 30 million tonnes per year because it cannot produce sufficient quantities. U.S. prices for both soybeans and soymeal are currently the most competitive on the market and therefore a very attractive feed option for European importers and users.

Bi-monthly reporting on E.U. imports of soybeans will include information on the volume of imports from the United States, the share of U.S. soybeans in total imports, changes in the U.S. share, and price movements.

The data included in the report on soybeans, comes from the Crops Market Observatory, which the European Commission launched in July 2017 to share market data and short-term analysis to ensure more transparency.