U. agricultural exports to China have grown rapidly since it joined the WTO in December 2001, augmentant de $1.9 mil milions al 2001 a $12.1 mil milions al 2008. Exports are down 7 percent for the first 10 mesos de 2009, which is not surprising with declines in most commodity prices over the past 18 mesos. U. agricultural imports from China increased from $0.8 mil milions al 2001 a $3.4 mil milions al 2008.
The agricultural trade issue of least contention is tariffs. The average import tariff for products of most importance to U.S. agriculture declined from 31 per cent en 1997 a 14 per cent avui. Most of the reductions occurred within five years of China joining the WTO, with the remaining tariff reductions completed by 2008. Per a la comparació, the average U.S. Tarifa importació agrícola és 12 per cent.
China agreed to tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for major bulk commodities and their operation has been an ongoing problem. The TRQ rules are to be announced before the marketing year begins, have transparency in operation, requisits autorització de minimitzar i assignaran en quantitats comercials. Cotton imports have far exceeded the TRQ, while the others have been largely unused.
Regulation of biotech soybeans, corn and cotton has been a problem, but has not resulted in negative outcomes for actual trade flows. China continues to require products be approved in the U.S. before submission for approval in China which causes delays for new biotech events. China’s requirements for “stacked” biotech events are unclear and a cause for concern. Despite these issues, el setembre de 2008 the Ministry of Agriculture approved the first “second generation” biotech event and several others remain in the regulatory process. USTR will work to ensure the biotech approval process does not create barriers to trade.
The biggest challenges to agricultural trade with China are sanitary and phytosanitary issues, which is typical for many countries. Raw meat, poultry and pork products top the list, with China’s market closed to U.S. beef and products because of BSE-related issues. Poultry import for several states are banned due to Avian Influenza. Pork imports were banned in April 2009 because of concerns about the H1N1 influenza A virus, although actions by the Chinese government in December appear to have removed the ban on pork. All of these restrictions are inconsistent with international standards, and China did not provide risk assessments for maintaining import restrictions.
L'informe explica, “China’s regulatory authorities continue to administer inspection-related requirements in a seemingly arbitrary manner.” Importadors són necessàries per obtenir un permís d'inspecció de quarantena (QIP) before signing contracts for most agricultural commodities. Issuance of QIPs sometimes slows down or is suspended without notifying traders in advance or explaining the reasons. Shipments of products such as soybeans, meat and poultry sometimes arrive without QIPs, creating delays in discharge and extra costs for importers. Les notes de l'informe, “QIPs are one of the most important trade policy issues affecting the United States and China’s other agricultural trading partners.”
One of the benefits of an international trade organization like the WTO is the establishment of rules that reduce uncertainties in trade flows. Buyers and sellers can organize supply chains to meet consumers needs while minimizes inventories and operations costs. The uncertainties in the Chinese import regulatory requirements impose additional costs and likely reduce the total volume of agricultural trade between the U.S. i la Xina. Improvements have been made in the last eight years, però l'u. will continue to press these issues in 2010.
The regulatory bottlenecks may be manifesting themselves in trade flows. When China joined the WTO the assumption was that its 1.3 billion people would demand a wide range of agricultural imports from the U.S. While the dollar value of imports from the U.S. en 2008 was over six times the trade in 2001, the range of products with significant trade continues to be narrow. En 2008 whole soybeans accounted for 59.9 percent of the dollar value of U.S. exports to China and raw cotton 13.4 per cent. Bulk commodities in total accounted for 74.6 per cent de les exportacions, fins a 56.2 per cent en 2001, i 8.3 times the 2001 nivell.
Intermediate products with some processing accounted for 14.4 per cent dels EUA. exportacions a la Xina en 2008, per sota de 29.5 per cent en 2001, i 3.0 times the level of 2001. Pells i pells eren 49.3 percent of intermediate exports. Orientat al consumidor productes van representar el 11.0 percent of exports in 2008, per sota de 14.2 per cent en 2001, i 4.8 times the level of 2001. Poultry meat accounted for 33.0 per cent dels productes orientat al consumidor, followed by red meat at 21.6 per cent, productes lactis a 13.4 percent and fruits, verdures i sucs a 12.7 per cent.
Uncertain import requirements discourage exporters and importers from utilizing supply chains for intermediate and consumer-oriented products that cannot easily be diverted to other markets if the regulatory climate is difficult. Those regulatory programs can also be used by government officials to add costs to the supply chain to discourage imports of products that compete with domestic supplies.
The U.S.-China trade relationship under WTO rules is relatively young. L'u. and the EU still have sanitary and phytosanitary disputes after decades of working together on trade issues. L'u. and China have much to gain by reducing costs in supply chains and USTR officials have a full agenda again in 2010.