China has allowed the import of soybean meal, sugar beet pulp, rapeseed meal and sunflower meal from Russia, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement on its website on Thursday.
Exporters of the animal feed ingredients must be inspected and approved by Russian authorities and would need to register with the Chinese regulator, the statement said.
The move came after the GAC announced in July that China will expand the import of Russian soybean and wheat. Industry experts said the growing amount of soybean products coming from Russia will help China meet domestic demand for animal and aquatic feed. It will also mitigate the effects caused by the ongoing Sino-US trade dispute.
To ensure grain security, China must diversify its import channels for various grains such as corn, wheat and soybean from global markets, said Ding Lixin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.
Wang Zhimin, a professor at the Beijing-based China Agricultural University, said the country has become the world's largest market for food trade. Supported by the Belt and Road Initiative, food trade between China and its partners is expected to grow rapidly.
Chinese consumers' daily diet will shift from low-protein to high-protein food in the long-run. Exports of edible oil, meat and dairy products will keep growing, while soybeans will increasingly be used as animal feed to boost pork, beef, fish and milk production, he said.
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said at a news conference last month that China is willing to work with Russia to expand market access, facilitate bilateral trade and conduct deeper agricultural cooperation.
Gao said Chinese companies have already imported about 4,400 metric tons of soybean from Russia in July.
"In the recent years the bilateral trade of agricultural products between China and Russia has seen steady growth," Gao said, adding that bilateral trade in agricultural products exceeded $5 billion in 2018, up 28.2 percent year-on-year.
Customs data showed that agricultural product trade between China and Russia reached $2.18 billion in the first five months this year, up 1.9 percent year-on-year.