Americas grain trade mulls China's 'excessive' Covid-free guarantee call

17 Jul 2020 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Representatives of Argentina’s grain exporters have held talks with counterparts in Brazil, Canada and the US in a bid to build regional consensus on how to respond to an “excessive” request from Chinese importers that they provide certification guaranteeing cargoes are Covid-19-free, an industry source told Agricensus.

Chinese importers are urging exporters to declare that they have taken all the sanitary precautions to ensure cases of Covid-19 are prevented in facilities and personnel and that they guarantee that the product does not carry any risk.

Argentine grain exporters have agreed with grain export chambers in Brazil, Canada and the US that exporters of grain and derivative products will not individually issue these Covid-19-free certificates.

“We also had talks with China’s cereal and oilseeds chamber to let them know that we considered that the request was excessive,” the source added.

Argentina’s grain exporters sector is concerned about the impact that this request could have on future grain shipments, although recent shipments of soybean and sorghum to Chinese ports have not reported any problems. 

“We know that there had been some issues with Argentine meat exports to China due to these new requirements,” the source added.

Argentine grain exporter chamber CEC recently issued a general communication to notify Chinese importers that the preventive health protocols in force in Argentina guarantee the health of the chain’s workers and that there is no risk of Covid-19 being present in the exports of grain and derivative products.

China is the destination for most of Argentina’s soybean exports.