The United States and Brazil have accounted for most of the growth in world soybean exports, while China has been the world’s largest importer. In the 1990s, the United States was the predominant exporter of soybeans.
During the late 1990s, both U.S. and Brazilian exports increased to supply China’s growing demand, but Brazilian exports grew more quickly. During the 1990s, the United States supplied more than 50 percent of China’s soybean imports, though the U.S. share gradually declined into the 2000s.
Brazil’s share first matched that of the United States in 2002 when each country supplied about 35 percent of China’s soybean imports. From 2002 to 2011, each country’s share of China’s soybean imports fluctuated between 35 and 50 percent.
Brazil’s share rose to almost 50 percent during 2012 to 2016 as the U.S. share fell to less than 40 percent.
The U.S. share fell to 30 percent in 2017 as China’s tariff on U.S. soybeans took effect late in the market year. During the first 9 months of China’s 2018/19 market year, while the tariff took full effect, Brazil’s share rose to 77 percent, while the U.S. share fell to 10 percent.
This chart appears in the ERS report, “Interdependence of China, United States, and Brazil in Soybean Trade,” released in June 2019.