New Soybean Export Procedures from USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on Dec. 27 issued a public statement and two additional explanatory materials – a fact sheet and a frequently asked questions document – concerning the new procedures it adopted to comply with Chinese phytosanitary import requirements in what it said is an effort to maintain the uninterrupted flow of U.S. soybeans to America’s largest export market.

Effective Jan. 1, an additional declaration must be provided on APHIS issued phytosanitary certificate indicating if a given U.S. soybean export consignment to China exceeds 1 percent foreign material (FM).

Procedural Change

The additional declaration on APHISissued phytosanitary certificates for U.S. soybean consignments exceeding 1 percent FM applies to all U.S. soybean exports to China, including bulk and container shipments. For consignments exceeding 1 percent FM, the additional declaration (AD) reads: “This consignment exceeds 1% foreign material.”

When U.S. shipments exceeding 1 percent foreign material arrive at the destination, APHIS said, China will determine whether to provide additional inspection, cleaning, treatment or other phytosanitary-protective measures to minimize the potential propagation of quarantine weed seeds of concern to China. APHIS said China also may require Chinese importers to manage any phytosanitary risks related to U.S. soybean shipments exceeding 1 percent FM.

Separately, FGIS on Dec. 27 modified its directive (9180.85) regarding the insertion of a statement in the “remarks” section of the FGIS 921-2 (inspection report – insects in grain) for Chinese-bound U.S. soybean export consignments. Initially, FGIS had stated that the following statement – “This consignment exceeds 1% FM” – would be inserted in the remarks section of such shipments that exceeded 1 percent FM, and that no statement would be placed in the remarks section of the FGIS form for shipments that contain 1 percent or less foreign material. However, FGIS under its revised procedure now also is including in the remarks the following statement – “This consignment is less than or equal to 1% FM” – for those shipments that contain 1 percent or lower FM.


The longer-term systems-based approach agreed to by USDA and China will focus on weed seed control across the U.S. grain supply chain, as well as appropriate protective measures that can be implemented at Chinese import destinations. Within the United States, the focus primarily will be on the development of weed seed control best practices at the farm level, including through agronomic, harvesting and other measures.

China buys 36+ million tons of soybeans from the United States. No other country could satisfy that demand. What's worth noting is that China's FM Concern and procedures do not apply to South American origin soybeans.