While China has been the world’s largest importer of soybeans for some time, Brazil and the U.S. have been competing for the top spot as the world’s largest exporter to China. 

Back in the 1990s, the U.S. was the top soybean exporter. 

During the end of that decade, both the U.S. and Brazil increased their exports to answer a growing demand for soybeans in China. 

Brazil’s exports grew more quickly than the U.S. 

During the ‘90s, the U.S. supplied as much as 50 percent of China’s soybean imports, but that number gradually declined further into the 2000s. 

Brazil’s share first matched the U.S. total in 2002 when each country supplied about 35 percent of China’s imports. 

Between 2002 and 2011, each country’s share of soybean exports to China totaled between 35 and 50 percent. 

Brazil’s share jumped to 50 percent of all exports to China between 2012 and 2016 as the U.S. share dropped to about 40 percent. 

That number would drop to 30 percent in 2017 as China’s tariff on U.S. soybeans took effect later in the marketing year. 

During the first nine months of China’s 2018/19 marketing year, Brazil’s share of the soybean import levels rose to 77 percent, while the U.S. share was just 10 percent.