SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — The chairman of China’s largest grain, oilseeds and food company said on Monday that COFCO International plans to increase investment in Brazilian soybean production, according to Reuters.
Speaking to the Brazilian Agribusiness Congress, Johnny Chi, head of the Chinese state-owned company, said COFCO would buy 5% more soybeans each year from Brazil over the next five years.
Chi also said COFCO would finance the expansion of more than 60 million acres of soybean production in Brazil.
The speech came as the trade war between the United States and China escalated in recent days. Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of further tariffs being slapped on Chinese product last week, China’s government news agency on Aug. 5 announced that Chinese companies will stop buying U.S. agricultural products.
The United States traditionally has been China’s biggest supplier of soybeans. In recent months, China has bought only a fraction of the soybeans it typically buys from the United States, and the Aug. 5 announcement seemed to indicate the potential for a complete boycott of U.S. soybeans as well as other grains and oilseeds.