Thursday, April 1, 2010

DJ Argentina Soyoil Producers 'Worried' About China Import Threat

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones)--Possible moves by China to block Argentine soyoil imports are a "worry," Argentina's edible oil industry association, Ciara, said Wednesday.

In a statement, the chamber cited press reports Wednesday which suggested China was planning to raise quality standards on soyoil imports from April 1, which would effectively shut off imports from Argentina, currently the largest provider of that product to the Asian giant. "That would mean a pseudo-tariff pubishment just for soyoil from Argentina," the chamber said.

Crude soyoil is the second-most-plentiful product traded between the two countries, it said. The chamber said that, according to Chinese customs data, the Asian giant imported 1.83 million tons of soyoil, or 76% of its total soyoil imports, for a total of $1.41 billion, compared with 1.72 million tons worth $2.21 billion in 2008.

Argentina sells soyoil based on world quality standards and international commercial contracts, the chamber said, adding that in January 2005, China signed an agreement in which it stated that the norms wouldn't affect soyoil purchases.

Soyoil isn't consumed directly by humans and has to be refined before it is consumed, the chamber said, adding that Argentine processing units meet world standards.

Officials from Argentina's agricultural health service, known as Senasa, are traveling to China this  week, Ciara said.

-By Matthew Cowley, Dow Jones Newswires; +54 11 4103 6740; 

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