Full Text: Food Security in China

White Paper
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Monday published a white paper titled "Food Security in China."

China SCIOUpdated: October 14, 2019

III. Opening Up and International Cooperation

China is an active promoter of free trade. It has worked hard to fulfill its commitments to the WTO, and shares China's food market resources to facilitate world food trade. By expanding international cooperation in food and agriculture and actively participating in global food security governance, China has made an important contribution to the healthy development of the world food industry and food security.

1. More areas are opening up

– The Chinese food market is more open than before. Foreign-funded enterprises in China have been processing more food, and their revenue from sales is increasing over the years, accounting for 14.5 percent and 17 percent of the national total in 2018. Foreign-funded enterprises are becoming more involved in depth and width of China's food market, with growing shares of business in edible vegetable oil and food processing, and activities extending into procurement, wholesale and retail, and staple food supply. They have become a key force in developing China's food industry.

– China has honored its commitments to the WTO. In strict accordance with its commitments upon joining the WTO, China has rescinded import quotas, permits and other non-tariff measures for relevant agroproducts, exercised quota management for imported wheat, corn and rice, and cut import duties on other food types by large margins. It has further eased restrictions on foreign investment in agriculture, allowing foreign-invested seed companies to operate in all grain types other than wheat, corn, and rare species or species unique to China, or genetically modified crops. Restrictions on foreign-invested companies regarding the procurement, processing and wholesale of agroproducts have also been lifted.

– China works for the development and prosperity of international food trade. On the precondition of ensuring national food security, China strictly abides by WTO rules and fulfills its commitments to the organization, sharing its huge food market with major food-producing countries. In 2018, China imported 115.55 million tons of oil crops (including soybeans), feed and other foods, and exported 3.66 million tons of food. These figures represented growth of 945 percent and 171 percent over 1996. It imported 88.03 million tons of soybeans, and 20.47 million tons of grains and grain powders, accounting for 4.9 percent of world grain trade in 2018.

2. International cooperation is strengthened in all areas

– Sharing resources and experience on food security with the rest of the world. Since 1996, the Chinese government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) have jointly implemented more than 20 multilateral South-South cooperation programs, and sent 1,100 agricultural experts and technical personnel to around 30 countries and regions in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean, accounting for 60 percent of the total number of personnel dispatched by the UNFAO's South-South cooperation program. It supports competent food enterprises in going global, encouraging them to invest in agriculture in countries and regions where such investment is needed, and share with them technology and experience on food production, processing, storage, logistics, and trade in accordance with the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. By the end of 2017, China had a total investment of 17.33 billion US dollars in agriculture overseas, with 851 enterprises operating in 100 countries and regions in six continents and employing 134,000 foreign employees. They have helped these countries and regions create more jobs, develop their economy, and improve peoples' lives.

– Deeper international cooperation. China has signed more than 120 bilateral and multilateral agreements on food and agriculture cooperation with over 60 countries and international organizations, and more than 60 inspection and quarantine protocols for food imports and exports. It has established exchanges in agricultural science and economic cooperation with over 140 countries and regions, and formed bilateral work groups on agricultural cooperation with more than 50 countries and regions. China has always prioritized agricultural development and food security in its cooperation with African countries. As of 2016, China had provided assistance to more than 50 African countries in implementing nearly 500 agricultural programs, including complete projects, technical support and material supply, in the areas of farming, food storage, agricultural machinery, farmland irrigation, and agroproduct processing. Since it launched the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, China has strengthened trade and economic relations with many participating countries to promote cooperation in the food industry.

– Actively participating in world food security governance. China has actively responded to and participated in the initiatives and activities organized by the UNFAO, the World Food Programme, and other international organizations for agriculture. It has worked to enhance the representation and voice of Africa and other developing countries in international organizations for agriculture, lending support to their reasonable demands. It is committed to implementing the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and has developed its country program for the Agenda and released a report on its progress for the Agenda, providing beneficial experience for other countries to do their work. China is engaged in the development of the Codex Alimentarius, International Plant Protection Convention, and other international rules. It led the formulation of and revisions to international standards on the specifications of wheat, corn, and other foods, and facilitated the development of about a dozen international standards on pesticide residues, grain transport, and food inspection and quarantine in foreign trade initiated by the World Organization for Animal Health and the International Standardization Organization. In order to push for consensus on food security governance, it took the lead in promoting the Asia Cooperation Dialogue on the relationship of food, water and energy security, and joined the 10+3 rice emergency reserve between ASEAN countries, China, Japan, and the ROK. It has also initiated or hosted APEC ministerial meetings on agriculture and food security, G20 meetings of agricultural ministers, BRICS meetings of agricultural ministers, the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Agricultural Ministers Forum, the China-Pacific Island Countries Agriculture Ministers Meeting, and the World Agricultural Outlook Conference.

– Providing emergency food assistance within its capacity. In response to the emergency food needs of other countries, China has provided bilateral and multilateral free emergency food assistance within its capacity, playing a positive role in alleviating humanitarian crises and facilitating global efforts toward eliminating hunger, for which it has won recognition and commendation from the international community.

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