Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 09:28 UK

China soya ban angers Argentina

Soya beans
Soya beans are an important part of Argentina's economy

Argentina has complained to the Chinese government about a planned boycott of its soya oil exports amid a growing trade dispute.

China's ambassador to Argentina was summoned on Monday after a Chinese trade body told traders not to buy Argentine soya oil.

China says it will ban imports because the oil fails to meet quality standards.

But it is also seen as the latest move in a long-running trade dispute.

In recent months, Argentina has sought to restrict imports of some Chinese goods in order to protect its domestic industries.

Chinese footwear and textile products are subject to import taxes.

Argentina says these "anti-dumping measures" are necessary to prevent China - now the world's biggest exporter - from flooding the market with cheap stock.

Economic impact

China insists that its proposed ban on Argentine oil is due to quality concerns. It argues that the oil contains excessive levels of a solvent used in processing.

A Chinese ban on soya oil would have a huge impact on Argentina's economy, which is heavily reliant on the soya oil industry.

Argentina is the biggest soya oil exporter in the world, while China is its single biggest customer.

Last year, Argentina exported 1.8 million tonnes of the oil to China - worth $1.4bn (£922m).

Any restriction on sales would also hurt Argentina's public finances, with the government benefiting from a 32% export tariff on soya oil.

Argentina's public finances are expected to be squeezed this year as it faces debt repayments of up to $15bn.

US soya oil futures rose in response to the news, with investors speculating that rival producers in Brazil and the US will benefit should the ban go ahead.

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