China's trade deficit in agricultural products rocketed 14.3 times on the year-earlier level to US$7.57 billion in the first five months of this year, sources with the Ministry of Agricuture said on Sunday.
Foreign trade in agricultural products amounted to US$39.93 billion in the five-month period, a growth of 36.1 percent year-on-year. The total included US$16.18 billion in export value, up 12.2 percent, and US$23.75 billion in import value, up 59.2 percent.
The five months saw the nation's net cereal exports decline drastically and trade deficit in animal by-products increase rapidly.
Between January and May, China exported 1.19 million tons of cereals, down 76.6 percent from the year-earlier level, but imported 911,000 tons, up 14.2 percent. The net exports stood at 276,000 tons, down 93.5 percent.
In the five months, US$1.65 billion worth of animal by-products were sold abroad nationwide, up 10 percent, while US$3.28 billion worth were imported, up 35.9 percent. The trade deficit was US$1.63 billion, up 78.6 percent.
Meanwhile, the country imported 3.58 million tons of edible vegetable oil, up 11.2 percent. The total included 1.13 million tons of soybean oil, up 7.6 percent, 98,000 tons of rapeseed oil, down 12.8 percent, and 2.33 million tons of palm oil, up 17.1 percent.
(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2008)