China hungry for US farm goods
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.