China hun­gry for US farm goods

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS NORTH AMERICA - By JACK FREIFELDER in New York jack­freifelder@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

US farm ex­ports to China have risen steadily in re­cent years, and the coun­try’s in­crease in pop­u­la­tion and a grow­ing mid­dle class point to a greater ex­pan­sion of that food trade, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (USDA) re­port.

In the Nov 20 re­port — Growth in US Agri­cul­tural Ex­ports to China — the au­thors wrote that the USDA fore­casts a con­sid­er­able in­crease in China’s im­ports of beef, coarse grains, cot­ton, pork and soy­beans by 2024.

“Eco­nomic con­di­tions within China point to­ward con­tin­ued trade ex­pan­sion,” Neil Mikul­ski, an an­a­lyst with the USDA’s For­eign Agri­cul­tural Ser­vice (FAS), wrote in an e-mail to China Daily. “In­di­ca­tors such as a pop­u­la­tion growth, in­creased pur­chas­ing power, and a surge in mid­dle-class house­holds sig­nal a rise in con­sumer de­mand for food.”

China’s boom­ing de­mand for lux­ury items and ready-to-eat foods has cre­ated new op­por­tu­ni­ties for the United States, par­tic­u­larly for ex­porters of in­ter­me­di­ate prod­ucts such as oils, fats, flour, meal, and sweet­en­ers, and con­sumer-ori­ented prod­ucts such as pro­cessed foods, meats, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, and wine and beer, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

US ex­ports of bulk, in­ter­me­di­ate, and agri­cul­tural-re­lated prod­ucts, such as for­est and fish prod­ucts, have each in­creased ap­prox­i­mately 250 per­cent since 2006, the re­port said, and ex­ports of con­sumer-ori­ented prod­ucts grew 150 per­cent over the same pe­riod.

In 2011, China over­took Canada as the top mar­ket for US farm and food prod­ucts, ac­cord­ing to USDA data. US agri­cul­tural and

Con­di­tions within China point to­ward con­tin­ued trade ex­pan­sion.”

re­lated ex­ports to China have in­creased more than three­fold in the last decade, hit­ting a high of $29.6 bil­lion in fis­cal year (FY) 2014, (the pe­riod from Oct 1, 2013 to Sept 30, 2014).

In FY 2015, US agri­cul­ture and re­lated ex­ports to China to­taled $25.9 bil­lion, down 12.5 per­cent year-over-year. De­spite the dip, China’s food consumption is ex­pected to out­pace do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion by more than 2 per­cent per year be­tween 2015 and 2020, data from IHS Global Insight shows. As a re­sult, China’s in­creased de­mand for food im­ports will have to be met, the USDA said.

US soy­beans ac­counted for nearly half the to­tal value of US ex­ports to China in 2015, to­tal­ing $12.7 bil­lion, the sec­ond-high­est sin­gle-year tally. Other US agri­cul­tural prod­ucts have be­come sig­nif­i­cant ex­ports to China, in­clud­ing sorghum and dis­tiller’s dried grains (DDGs), a corn byprod­uct used for an­i­mal feed. Both have be­come bil­lion-dol­lar ex­ports, USDA data shows.

In Novem­ber, USDA of­fi­cials met their Chi­nese coun­ter­parts dur­ing the 26th US-China Joint Com­mis­sion on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Guangzhou, Guang­dong prov­ince to “dis­cuss the role of agri­cul­tural tech­nolo­gies in build­ing a more sus­tain­able, food se­cure world,” said Mikul­ski.

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