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China will diversify agriculture imports, boost support for soybean - state media

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China will diversify import channels, increase imports of agricultural products that meet domestic demand and step up support for growing high-yield soybeans, state media reported on Wednesday.

The reiteration of plans to boost domestic soybean output and diversify imports is part of Beijing’s efforts to guarantee food security, especially after a trade war with the United States, a major supplier of farm produce to China.

In its annual agricultural policy document, the government also said it will adjust and improve a minimum-purchase-price system for rice and wheat.

China imposed hefty tariffs on U.S. agriculture products amid escalating trade tensions, curbing imports significantly.

Meantime, Beijing has taken measures to diversify import origins for grains and meals and to boost domestic production of oilseeds, to reduce reliance on the U.S. produce.

Beijing also said in the document that it will continue to boost pig production in the new year, after a deadly African swine fever disease decimated the country’s massive herd.

“Stabilising pig production is a top priority. Various measures shall be taken to restore the productions to normal rates by the end of 2020,” the government said.

Reporting by Hallie Gu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; editing by Larry King