context: China and Russia signed an agriculture cooperation plan in November 2018, and Russia expects expanding market access for meat and dairy products as a result. The fast rise in Russian soybean imports this year responded directly to US–China trade tensions, and a trade war deal between the two would likely produce a substantial reduction in demand for Russian soy. An agreement allowing China to export dairy cattle to Russia’s far east and import milk from the region, also signed last year, would be supported by the ‘green channel’ described below.

Harbin customs data shows 903,000 tonnes of grain and oilseeds were imported from Russia through nine grain ports in Heilongjiang province in 2018, a 76.2 percent increase y-o-y. Soybeans saw an over 60 percent y-o-y increase, setting a new record of 803,000 tonnes. In addition, imports of meat, fresh milk and coarse cereals also saw growth, reports Feed Trade.

Heilongjiang is a key province for ag cooperation with Russia, including imports of non-GMO soybeans, overseas ag park construction and grain port development. Harbin customs bureau says import and export volumes are expected to continue increasing, and they will continue supporting global ag cooperation by

  • supporting the launch of cargo routes from Harbin to North America
  • supporting operation of the Suifen River vehicle port and exploring automobile trade potential
  • supporting a Heilongjiang province international ag base focused on importing feed and exporting cows
  • cooperating with Dalian Commodity Exchange to introduce non-GMO soybean futures delivery business to Heilongjiang
  • promoting construction of designated ports for inspection and quarantine of meat and other imported products
  • promoting market access expansion for Russian meat and dairy products, and overseas planting and re-import of Chinese medicinal herbs, coarse cereals, and beans

Harbin customs will deepen cooperation with Russian customs and anti-smuggling agencies, promote mutual recognition of inspection and quarantine results and accelerate a ‘green channel’ for ag products.