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By Maximilian Heath
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Argentina's soybean crushers could gain access to the Chinese soymeal market "in the coming months," the head of the country's CIARA oilseed crushers industry group told Reuters on Thursday.
The South American country's government will present China with a list of companies seeking permission to export soymeal, which includes all Argentine soy crushers including the local units of Bunge and Cargill, CIARA President Gustavo Idigoras said in an interview.
The move comes after China imposed a duty on imports of U.S. soy as part of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.
"Selling soymeal to China has historically been Argentina's ambition, but China refused," Idigoras said, noting that the Asian country and world's No. 2 economy preferred to buy raw soybeans and crush them into soymeal locally.
Argentina is the world's top exporter of soymeal, while China is the world's largest importer of raw soybeans. Soymeal is used principally as livestock feed.
Idigoras said the secretary of agricultural markets in the agriculture ministry, Marisa Bircher, was currently in Beijing and would formally present the list. A spokesman for Argentina's agriculture ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"In the coming months access to the Chinese market could be resolved," Idigoras said. "There is already solid demand from Chinese animal feed factories to import Argentine soy meal." (Additional reporting by Hugh Bronstein Writing by Luc Cohen Editing by James Dalgleish)