BEIJING (Reuters) – China has approved wheat imports from the Russian region of Kurgan, the Chinese customs office said on Friday, bringing Russia a step closer to its goal of dramatically increasing grain exports.
It also approved soybean imports from all parts of Russia, the General Administration of Customs said in a separate statement on its website, having all but halted U.S. soy imports as the trade dispute between Beijing and Washington deepened.
China was the top buyer of U.S. soybeans until Beijing slapped a 25% tariff on shipments last year in response to U.S. tariffs on a range of Chinese products.
Russia, already the world’s top wheat exporter, plans to invest billions of dollars in grain infrastructure and logistics with the aim of raising its exports of the commodity to at least 55.9 million tonnes by 2035.
The figure, outlined in a 2035 strategy published by Russia’s agriculture ministry earlier this month, could be as high as 63.6 million tonnes, its “optimistic scenario” forecasts showed.
This year, Russia is expected to export 41.9 million tonnes of grain, including 31.4 million tonnes of wheat, according to SovEcon, one of Russia’s leading agriculture consultancies.
Russian grain supplies could play a key role in President Vladimir Putin’s plan, announced a year ago, to increase the country’s exports of agricultural products to $45 billion by 2024. The agriculture ministry is in charge of that initiative.
China is already importing wheat from six other Russian regions.