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9.China's Agriculture and the WTO

DATE:2009-06-03       SOURCE:

9. China's Agriculture and the WTO


China became the member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2001. Since its accession to the WTO, we have worked conscientiously to fulfill the commitments we made for accession to the WTO through pushing forward reform in the country and increasing support for agriculture. By doing so, agriculture and rural areas have kept good momentum in the process of development, become stronger in accepting challenges, obtained increased capability in taking up competition, and made development in the process of opening up to the outside world.   


9.1 Fulfill the commitments made for accession to the WTO. Since its accession to the WTO, China has fulfilled its commitments in a fairly earnest manner. In the past five years, China has removed all non-tariff measures, revised all the laws and regulations that were inconsistent with the WTO rules and regulations, amended five legal documents, and repealed 26 regulations and normative documents. Also, tariffs on agricultural products have been cut down sharply in light with its commitments. In 2006, China cut down the import duties on agricultural products to 15.2 percent on average, which is only one-fourth of the world average. Imposing tariff quota onwheat, maize, rice, cotton, sugar and wool has improved the management system of tariff quota. In addition, China has abolished all forms of export subsidies by its commitments. Meanwhile, China has readjusted its agricultural support policies through introducing more Green Box support measures, and keeping Amber Box support measures below 8.5 percent of committed level. 


9.2 Agricultural performance. Since its accession to the WTO, China’s agriculture has kept a steady performance and a good momentum of development. Restructuring of agriculture and rural economy has been pushed in deep, rural reforms increasingly deepened, overall agricultural capacity continuously strengthened, and rural social programmes actively developed. In 2006, the agricultural tax and the livestock tax were rescinded nationwide. Grain production has kept steady growth. From 2001 to 2006, grain production increased 8.986 million tons annually on average. And in the same period farmers’ income increased 224.12 yuan annually on average that changed the rather low-rate increase pattern of income in many years.      


9.3 Development strategy of agricultural trade. The Chinese government has formulated tactics of agriculture for the transition period after its accession to the WTO for the purpose of maintaining a steady development of agriculture in this period. The general concept is to take Scientific Outlook on Development and the principle of having industries to promote agriculture and cities to help the countryside as guide and building a moderately prosperous society in all aspect as the target while adhering to the principle of balancing urban and rural development and coordinating domestic development with opening up. The major tactics are as follows:


Firstly, further strengthen and readjust the government policies for supporting agriculture. In response to the need of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspect, building a harmonious society and taking part in international competition, it is required to insist on reinforcing agriculture under macroeconomic regulation, to further readjust the distribution pattern of national income, to ensure additionally appropriated funds, the investment in fixed assets and financial support are directed toward agriculture, rural areas and farmers.


Secondly, strengthen the overall agricultural capacity building. To this end, it is required to reinforce development of social service systems for breeding of quality variety/breeds, innovation in agricultural science and technology and application of scientific and technological advances in practical use, animal and plant protection, quality and safety of agricultural products, agricultural market information, protection of agricultural resources, and conservation of eco-environment in order to build strong, fast-response, effective and standardized support systems for agriculture, to enhance agricultural service functions of the government, to keep in mind the domestic and overseas markets and resources, to continuously push forward the strategic restructuring of agriculture and the arrangement of producing areas with optimum growth conditions, to give the comparative advantages full play, to keep promoting vertically integrated operations of agriculture, to speed up scientific and technological advances, to make agricultural products more competitive internationally, to reinforce farmland protection and quality improvement, and to consolidate foundations for agricultural development.   


Thirdly, improve trade environment and promote fair trade. In light with the current development situation in agriculture and the actual conditions of agriculture, rural areas and farmers, it is required to do more studies on agricultural trade, make increased efforts and participate in the bilateral and multilateral negotiations on agricultural trade and the formulation of trade rules, strive for a fair trade environment and safeguard it, and give agriculture stronger protection in opening to the outside world, energetically foster a number of agri-trade demonstration enterprises that successfully integrate production, supply and marketing, establish production demonstration bases for export-oriented competitive products, pursue a name brand strategy, and strengthen foreign trade information services offered by the government for enterprises and the public. 

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