Food and agriculture minister, Petteri Orsi, said on Thursday that China has swallowed more than 20% of the United States food imports, a move which could increase pressure on President Donald Trump to take more decisive action.
The United States imports more than $3.5 trillion worth of food and other items from China each year.
However, the US Department of Agriculture estimates that China imports more food and agricultural products than the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia combined, with the latter accounting for nearly 60% of imports.
“This has been happening for a long time and I believe that this trend will continue.
But, there are some limits,” Orsi said during a press conference.”
I don’t want to say that this is an irreversible trend.
But I do believe that we will see some pressure on US food policy.”
Orsi said the situation was “very concerning”, as the US imports so much food that its price is “too high”, and that food security was also a “critical” issue for the US.
“In this regard, I’m worried about our food security, as it will have an impact on our agricultural and food supply,” he said.
“I am also concerned about the situation of China and their growing reliance on imported food, particularly food from the EU.”
And I am worried about the growth of the Chinese food sector and the number of new food products coming into our country.””
So I want to make sure that we have a plan to deal with this.
We are moving forward with the food security plan, so I want us to have the tools to do it,” he added.
The number of US imports of food has increased by more than 200% over the last four years, according to the USDA, rising from 528 million tonnes in 2011 to 1.2 billion tonnes in 2017.
The Food and Nutrition Service, the department responsible for overseeing food safety and quality, said that the increase in imports was “the biggest single source of the increase”.”
The number and intensity of imports are increasing because of a number of factors, including the increasing global demand for Chinese food and the growth in China’s trade and investment activity,” it said.
On Wednesday, Trump threatened to impose tariffs of as much as $30 a tonne on Chinese imports.
The Trump administration has been under increasing pressure from Beijing over its trade practices and its alleged theft of US intellectual property.