China - Country Commercial Guide

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-01-04

China’s agricultural imports, exports, and production have expanded greatly since acceding to the WTO in 2001 and was one of the top two markets for several years prior to the trade war of 2018-2019. China was the third-largest export market for U.S agricultural products in 2019 at $13.9 billion, down from second place only two years prior. Agricultural and food products face complex, non-transparent, and ever-changing regulations in China, which, like other sectors, present substantial market access barriers.

The resolution of these issues and expanding China’s purchase of U.S. agricultural products were priorities in the Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Those issues are summarized in the USTR Fact Sheet.

Economic and Trade Agreement Between the United States and China

The Agriculture Chapter of the Economic and Trade Agreement addresses structural barriers to trade. It supports a dramatic expansion of U.S. food, agriculture, and seafood product exports, increasing American farm and fishery income, generating more rural economic activity, and promoting job growth. In the Agreement, a multitude of non-tariff barriers to U.S. agriculture and seafood products are addressed. A key outcome is China’s commitment to purchase and import on average approximately $40 billion of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood products annually for a total of at least $80 billion by 2021. Products will cover the full range of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood products. On top of that, China will strive to import an additional $5 billion per year over the next two years.

Since the agreement went into effect, China has implemented measures that will provide greater access for U.S. producers and exporters and has been increasing purchases. While China did not meet its purchase commitment for 2020, U.S. agricultural exports to China for 2020 did reach a record $26.4 billion.  However, work remains to be done on technical barriers and purchases to ensure China’s commitments are met.


China imposed additional import tariffs on many U.S. food and agricultural products in response to the United States’ Sections 232 and 301 trade actions. More information about the U.S. products affected by these trade actions is available with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

China continues to implement a tariff exclusion process in an attempt to facilitate imports of U.S. commodities. Importers can now apply for exclusions from Section 301 retaliatory tariffs. USDA continues to publish guidance for U.S. exporters seeking to participate in this process. Additional reports can be found in USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN). Many importers report that they are receiving tariff relief for purchases of U.S. food and agricultural products.

Regulatory Landscape

The Economic and Trade Agreement addresses structural barriers to trade and will support a dramatic expansion of U.S. food, agriculture, and seafood product exports (USTR Fact Sheet) In particular, the agreement presents new or expanded market opportunities for the following products:

USDA Endorsed Trade Shows

Each year, FAS endorses the trade shows that will provide the best international exposure and marketing opportunities for U.S. companies and producers. FAS works with show organizers and other partners to create a “USA Pavilion” to showcase the variety and quality of made-in-America products to potential foreign buyers. FAS also provides participating companies with marketing and promotion services, market intelligence, logistical support, and on-site assistance. In addition, in order to support U.S. agribusiness in today’s ever-changing trade environment, FAS is expanding its trade promotion activities to include virtual trade events.

Note:  Because of the evolving Covid situation in China, delays and cancellations of shows have cut down on the number of shows and continue to unfold.  The below trade shows are subject to change.

  • SILAL China
  • Food Ingredients China
  • Food and Hotel China
  • China Fisheries and Seafood Expo

Exporter Assistance

FAS provides a range of information for those interested in exporting and programs to help build markets for U.S. agricultural products. Those interested in exporting food and agricultural products to China should review the Exporter Guide and Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) country and certificate reports which are published annually by FAS. 


The FAS Website features general information about trade shows and other promotional venues to showcase agricultural products, FAS-sponsored promotional efforts, export financing and assistance, and a directory of registered suppliers and buyers of agricultural, fishery, and forestry goods in the United States and abroad.

The FAS Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN)) also includes a wide range of reports on agriculture, agricultural markets, access issues, and regulations published by FAS from Posts around the world.

To help U.S. exporters navigate the many layers of regulation, FAS publishes three guides to educate exporters on the requirements, procedures, and bottlenecks that may occur for their industries.

The three most significant annual reports are: