Brazil has asked China to clarify certain aspects of a new national soybean standard that changes quality requirements for the grain, including how they will be implemented and assessed, a Brazilian Agriculture Ministry official said on Monday.
China’s proposed new standard for the oilseeds, currently under discussion at the World Trade Organization, is expected to replace one from 2009, said Glauco Bertoldo, who directs Dipov, the agriculture ministry’s inspection services department for vegetable products.
China notified the WTO in February and the new proposal comes as Brazil revises its own soy standard, the official said.
“As we discuss the new national standard, we cannot ignore the standards of our largest customer,” Mr Bertoldo said during an online event organised by Embrapa, the national agriculture research agency.
Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of soybeans, and China is the main destination of its protein-rich oilseeds. There, local processors crush the grain to make livestock feed and oil.
The new Chinese standard will set the terms and definitions, classification, quality requirements, test methods, inspection rules, labelling, packaging, storage, and transportation requirements for soybeans.
“Our first impression is that the Brazilian market will not be significantly affected,” Mr Bertoldo said. He added the new Chinese norm seems to be “less rigorous” than the previous one regarding certain parameters of quality.
However, one potential issue relates to soy’s maximum moist levels, set at 13 per cent under China’s new proposed standard, below Brazil’s 14 per cent threshold.
Brazil told China that its formal position about China’s WTO proposal is that that aspect of the standard should not be used to classify soybeans, Mr Bertoldo said.