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Farm Trade Deficit Tipped to Level Out

China's farm trade deficit may level out this year as its competitiveness improves, five years after its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"It is possible for China's farm trade to largely achieve a balance (this year)," wrote Wang Ming, researcher with the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

Weng wrote the chapter on farm trade for the latest CASS Green Book on China's Rural Economy, which was released yesterday in Beijing.

"Our calculation points to a US$300-US$400 million farm trade deficit for this year," Weng told China Daily yesterday.

China's farm trade volume is expected to reach US$70 billion this year, up by 12 percent year-on-year, said Li Zhou, deputy director of the CASS institute, at yesterday's ceremony to mark the release of the Green Book.

China's farm trade deficit first occurred in 2004, when it reached a stunning US$4.66 billion, confirming widespread concern that the country's agricultural sector may suffer from the flooding of farm produce following its WTO accession in 2001.

In 2005, it dropped to US$1.47 billion and to US$960 million in 2006.

The competitiveness of China's farm products has been improving thanks to the government's increased input in the sector, more attention paid to the quality of products and more active response to anti-dumping measures, according to the Green Book.

"Another factor was the increased supply of domestic wheat, which cut imports by a large margin last year," said Ye Dongya, researcher with the University of International Business and Economics.

(China Daily April 25, 2007)

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