China Blocks U.S. Farm Sales

According to a recent government report, Chinese trade barriers block up to $5 billion in U.S. farm sales.  China is currently one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of agricultural products, a status gained, in part, by the rapid rise of the Chinese middle class and China’s massive economic expansion. The United States is currently the largest supplier of agricultural products to China. In 2010, the U.S. sold over $17 billion of farm products to China, mostly soybeans and animal feed.

 Despite this mutual agricultural relationship, the Chinese government continues to block certain agricultural products. China maintains non-tariff barriers on U.S. meat, largely on American beef and pork exports. Pork importation, for example, is blocked in China due to fears of the swine flu (fears largely ungrounded according to the World Health Organization). While the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has not found a concerted effort by the Chinese government to block U.S. exports, the U.S. government is seeking to lower some of the Chinese barriers to help facilitate international trade.

In a press release, Senator Max Baucus (D-South Dakota) stated, “China is our number one market for US agricultural product exports, but China’s unjustified trade barriers are blocking some of our goods such as wheat and beef and hurting job growth in the US.”

While the Chinese government has revered several trade barriers (lowering some of the bans on beef imports in December) the U.S. Senate hopes to negotiate further concessions from China, which would largely benefit both nations economically.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer