Argentina’s national food health and quality service Senasa is working to update regulations in order to facilitate the import of US soyabeans into the country for the first time in more than 20 years.

Due to the last imports from the USA having been in 1997, Argentina’s current sanitary regulations would not allow the arrival of bulk ships carrying US soyabeans, Senasa president Luis Negri told Agricensus on 16 April.

“The first issue is that we need to update the sanitary protocols between Argentina and the USA. The second issue is we need to find out what to do with the transgenics that are approved in the USA but that are not currently approved in Argentina and in other markets that will receive soya meal and oil made from US soyabeans,” Negri said.

Senasa had already appointed technical teams to work on the two issues and Negri expected the first soyabeans to arrive in Argentina later in the year.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that in early April, Argentinian buyers had purchased four cargoes of soyabeans – totalling 240,000 tonnes – which would likely be delivered in October or November.

According to unnamed sources, Argentinian agribusiness Vicentin was responsible for at least half of the purchased volume.

Argentinian crushers were looking to buy up to 1M tonnes of US soyabeans in order to keep crushing rates high come autumn, wrote Agricensus.

Argentina generally imported soyabeans from Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

In addition to importing US soyabeans, Argentine biodiesel producer Ecofuel has become the first to export biodiesel to Canada in the aftermath of the USA imposing tariffs on the fuel, wrote Hellenic Shipping News on 16 April.

The company shipped 29,000 tonnes of biodiesel to Canada in March and was scheduled to make a similar shipment in April, but the company said the Canadian market could not fully compensate for the loss of exports to the USA.

Up to to 21 March, Argentina had exported 254,000 tonnes of biodiesel, mostly to Europe. In 2017 the country exported a total of 1.7M tonnes.