Market News & Headlines >> Chinese Soy Buyers Seek Coronavius-Free Guarantee

Chinese soybean buyers are asking exporters to sign a letter guaranteeing their cargoes are not contaminated with the novel coronavirus, U.S., Brazilian and Canadian soy industry officials told Reuters News Service on Tuesday. 

China is trying to prevent any risk of new COVID-19 infections from imported goods as it takes aggressive measures to contain a recent spike in coronavirus infections linked to a sprawling wholesale food market in Beijing. 

The letters appear to be an attempt by China to reduce additional testing it has been carrying out on food imports and shift the responsibility for guaranteeing the safety of such imports to exporters.  China tested more than 32,000 samples of imported meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables for COVID-19 between June 11-17, with no samples testing positive. 

Two grain export traders told Reuters that their companies have not responded to the request and are looking to federal agriculture officials or broader industry groups for a unified response. The U.S., Brazilian and Canadian departments of agriculture did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Efforts to ensure soybean cargoes are free from the coronavirus are coming from local customs authorities, not Beijing, said Zhang Xiaoping, China director of the U.S. Soybean Export Council. 

Last week, overseas suppliers of meat and fruit reported that China's General Administration of Customs asked them to sign declarations ensuring the safety of their shipments to China. Customs did not reply to a Reuters request for comment on Friday about the declarations.