Cultivating Opportunity: The Benefits of Increased U.S.-China Agricultural Trade

Ag Study
Monday, November 21, 2016 - 9:30am
As the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China contribute substantially to the prosperity and stability of the global economy. Together, the two countries account for approximately one-third of the world’s GDP, one-third of the world’s outward foreign direct investment, and one-sixth of world exports of agricultural products.
Two-way agricultural trade has grown consistently over the last decade, reaching $35.6 billion in 2015, and is expected to continue to grow, with cumulative gains over 2016-2025 forecast at $71.2 billion.
Despite large two-way trade volumes and consistent growth, a variety of tariff and behind-the-border barriers persist in both countries, leaving significant agricultural export opportunities unrealized. 
For China, the following policy reforms would help meet increased food demand overall and provide the opportunity for increased U.S. exports: 
• adherence to timely, predictable, and science-based approaches for approvals of agricultural biotechnology, and equitable treatment for foreign animal vaccine products and imports;
• implementation of improved animal health management with veterinary pharmaceuticals and vaccines to prevent and control animal diseases and increase access to quality meat products; 
• increased transparency for existing TRQ allocations for commodities, and ensuring that they are large enough to be commercially viable; and 
• elimination of subsidies for domestic farm machinery, or making these subsidies available to foreign brands, encouraging the use of the latest equipment and increasing food production through advanced farm mechanization.
While the United States has a relatively open market to Chinese agricultural products, imports from China have significant opportunity for growth. The United States must maintain its openness and refrain from implementing unnecessary regulatory burdens, while maintaining product safety.