Business

Taiwan to buy 'significant' amount of U.S. soybeans

Group expected to sign letter of intent in Des Moines

Soybeans are dropped for storage into the Linn Co-Op Oil elevator in Springville. (The Gazette)
Soybeans are dropped for storage into the Linn Co-Op Oil elevator in Springville. (The Gazette)

A Taiwanese trade delegation is expected to sign a letter of intent next week in Des Moines to greatly increase the purchase of U.S. soybeans.

The decision comes as American farmers cotninue to deal with dropping commodity prices caused in part by international trade disputes.

The Iowa Soybean Association said in a statement that the delegation will sign the letter at the Iowa Statehouse at 1:20 p.m. Monday, with state officials and commodity group representatives in attendance.

If the deal is fully realized, the purchases could give the United States as much as 90 percent of Taiwan’s soybean market, the association said.

Association spokeswoman Katie Johnson declined to say how many soybeans would be included in the deal or which industries are planning to use them, but said the purchases would be made over a two-year period.

As part of a larger tour across the Midwest and Washington, D.C., the Taiwanese delegation signed a letter of intent in St. Paul, Minn., on Thursday to buy between 3.2 million and 3.9 million tons of soybeans from Iowa and Minnesota over the next two years.

That deal, according to the Minnesota Governor’s office, is valued at up to $1.56 billion.

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Chinese tariffs on soybeans, implemented as part of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, has driven down prices for the commodity, leading American agricultural groups to search for new markets while lobbying U.S. officials to end the trade dispute.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; dan.mika@thegazette.com

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