China to drop export tax on wheat, rice, soybeans

by Josh Sosland
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BEIJING — China’s Ministry of Finance on June 22 announced plans to eliminate export duties on a wide range of products, including wheat, rice and soybeans.

The move is intended to help counter a severe slide in the nation’s overall exports. Exports in China fell to $88.8 billion in May, down 26% from May 2008, following a 23% decline in April.

The grain export levy currently is only 3%. By contrast, a special export tariff of 50% on chemical fertilizer and fertilizer raw materials, including phosphorus, phosphate rock and phosphoric acid, also may be canceled.

China’s grain supplies have grown in recent years, boosted by several consecutive years of large harvests. The world’s largest wheat producer, China is projected to garner 113.5 million tonnes (4.2 billion bus) of wheat in 2010, up from 112.5 million in 2009 and 109.3 million in 2008. Even more dramatic, the country’s wheat ending stocks were projected to climb to 59.8 million tonnes in 2010, up 24% from 48.4 million tonnes in 2009 and 53% larger than the 39 million tonnes in 2008.

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