Soy beans are unloaded from cargo ship. [CFP]
China leapfrogged Canada to become the No. 1 market for U.S. farm products for the first time, the U.S. Agriculture Department said in an updated weekly report.
The U.S. sold US$20 billion of agricultural products to China for the past fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, making China the top importer for the first time, the report said.
The Agriculture Department predicted that farm exports to China and Canada will each reach US$19 billion this fiscal year.
The U.S. agriculture minister Tom Vilsack is scheduled to visit Vietnam and China this week with the goal of eliminating barriers for agricultural trade.
In 2004, China was the fifth largest buyer of U.S. farm products with a trade volume of US$6 billion.
Last year, China's large buying of American corn garnered wide attention. China purchased 900,000 tons of corn from the U.S. in mid-October and was said to be an unidentified buyer of 1.25 million tons of corn in March.
China's business press carried the story above on Monday.