AmCham China Members Seek Greater Cooperation with China on Agriculture


AmCham China Members Seek Greater Cooperation with China on Agriculture

A Shared Objective: Securing Stable Supplies of High-Quality, Affordable Food for China

 

Feb. 4, 2015 – Overcoming the challenges of food security, safety and sustainability for China is a common goal for everyone involved in the country’s agriculture sector, the American Chamber of Commerce said today. In a new report, titled Working Together to Improve Chinese Agricultural Sustainability, the chamber highlighted several areas of cooperation between the US and China in agriculture, but emphasized there is a lot more that could be done to ensure Chinese consumers have access to safe, affordable food.

“AmCham China applauds several recent adjustments to China’s agricultural policy that may benefit the supply and distribution of food,” AmCham China Chairman James Zimmerman said. “But there is so much more that can be achieved by increased engagement between companies and governments in areas such as seed research, more efficient distribution and freer trade. Cooperation makes sense for business, and it makes sense for consumers.”

Restrictions on foreign investment

The Chinese government has announced the relaxation of some restrictions on foreign investment in the distribution of some agricultural products in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone, and AmCham China looks forward to extension of the relaxation on a nationwide basis.  AmCham China hopes that substantial steps will be taken to continue opening up the agricultural sector through the Guiding Catalogue on Foreign Investment and other policies instead of introducing further restrictions.

Seed Research

AmCham China believes that substantial reform is required to accelerate the modernization of the seed industry and appreciates the progress made in the process of drafting the revisions to the Seed Law. However, we continue to emphasize the importance of ensuring that the revised Seed Law treats all industry participants equally, including foreign-invested seed companies.

International Agricultural Commodity Trade

AmCham China encourages China to eliminate anti-dumping and countervailing duties on US poultry imports or, at a minimum, give US exporters the opportunity to reduce these duties through interim reviews. China recently announced import approvals of biotech corn and soybean products, which had experienced lengthy delays for approvals.  This announcement is encouraging news for bilateral trade and for our industry. However, we have experienced increasing delays and unpredictability in China’s GMO import approval process, which hinders speed of new technology adoption by growers in America and threatens the commodity trade to China. The agricultural industry relies on innovation, and we need a predictable, transparent, and science-based regulatory approval system in China to allow the growing pipeline of safe and innovative GM products to reach growers and markets.

Meanwhile, Chinese counterparts have voiced concerns about market access for certain Chinese agricultural products in the US. To promote more robust and mutually beneficial US-China agricultural trade, AmCham China also urges US authorities to employ a science-based approach to Chinese requests for US market access for meat, fish, and produce (in particular, cooked poultry, catfish, apples, and pears).

Recommendations

For the Chinese Government:

  • Reduce barriers to foreign participation and investment in agriculture, in particular by removing more agriculture-related industries from the Restricted and Prohibited Categories of the Foreign Investment Catalogue and from the negative lists for the Shanghai FTZ and the BIT.
  • Improve the efficiency and predictability of antitrust review by streamlining the review process and eliminating non-antitrust factors.
  • Remove unscientific restrictions on the importation of US beef, poultry, pork, and GMO products.
  • Improve the speed, fairness, and transparency of the seed registration process.
  • Improve the speed, fairness, and transparency of the agricultural equipment subsidy registration process for the MOA’s equipment procurement catalogue, both at the national and provincial level.
  • Eliminate anti-dumping and countervailing duties on US poultry imports or, at a minimum, give US exporters the opportunity to reduce these duties through future interim reviews.
  • Increase cooperation with US companies to enable Chinese farmers to produce food more sustainably and in line with global best practices and help reduce the cost of safe food for Chinese citizens.

For the US Government:

  • Work with Chinese officials through bilateral dialogues, including the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and US-China BIT negotiations, to address investment restrictions faced by US agriculture producers.
  • Employ a science-based approach to Chinese requests for market access for meat, fish, and produce, including cooked poultry, apples, pears, and catfish.
  • Engage in bilateral dialogue, workshops, and in-depth scientific exchanges to support the implementation of transparent, science-based regulatory systems, transparent and WTO-compliant agricultural trade policies, and open market access and investment opportunities in China.
  • Work with the MOA to hold the second US-China Agricultural Symposium in 2015.

Working Together to Improve Chinese Agricultural Sustainability can be downloaded here.

About AmCham China:

The American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China (AmCham China) is a non-profit organization which represents US companies and individuals doing business in China.  AmCham China's membership comprises more than 3,800 individuals from over 1,000 companies. It has more than 40 industry- and issue-specific forums and committees, offers unique services such as the Business Visa Program, holds a wide range of networking and informational events, and meets with US and Chinese officials to discuss challenges and opportunities facing US firms doing business in China. The Chamber's mission is to help American companies succeed in China through advocacy, information, networking and business support services. For more information, visit: www.amchamchina.org

 

For more information, please contact:
Jane Song
Tel: (8610) 8519-0835
Email: Jsong@amchamchina.org