Soybeans are one of the most concentrated segments of the global agricultural trade, and since the retaliatory 25% tariff on U.S. soybeans last year, China has steadily bought a lot more of Brazilian soybeans, according to the U.S. Economic Research Service.
When the tariffs were proposed in March of 2018 and then implemented that July, Chinese imports of U.S. beans fell by nearly 22 million metric tons. That’s about a 90% decline. To offset their needs, China boosted purchases from Brazil by 11.5 million metric tons and increased its imports from Canada by 1.7 million metric tons.
However, increased shipments from Brazil and Canada did not offset the decline of U.S. beans. Total Chinese imports of soybeans were 20 percent lower from October of 2018 to March 2019.