Hong Kong and China - September 2016

Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor will lead a trade mission September 7-15, 2016 to Hong Kong and Shanghai, China. Designed for women leaders, the mission will enable participants to forge relationships with potential customers and trading partners, interact with government officials, gather market intelligence that will help them develop strategies to start or expand sales in these key markets, and gain valuable insight into the role women play in China’s agricultural industry.

In 2014 USDA began its Women in Agriculture initiative as a way to highlight the roles women play in the agriculture industry, from farm to fork to boardroom. The goal is to encourage more women to take on leadership roles in the industry, while inspiring the next generation of young, second career, and socially disadvantaged women to pursue food and agriculture. This trade mission is the next step in increasing women’s leadership through creating important business-to-business connections with foreign counterparts. Although this ATM is targeted at women, men are welcome to apply.

Why Hong Kong and China?

The United States enjoys strong trading relations with both Hong Kong and China.  While Hong Kong is a territory of China, it maintains its own legal system and is considered a separate customs territory. China and Hong Kong are also separate members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Both have a strong demand for U.S. food and agricultural products, but represent very different markets with unique challenges and opportunities.

With more than 7.2 million people packed into 426 square miles, Hong Kong relies on imports for more than 95 percent of its food supplies. Its location, free port status, and role as a regional purchasing and distribution center enabled Hong Kong to become a major transshipment hub for other Asian destinations. Last year, Hong Kong’s food and beverage imports totaled $21.6 billion, with the EU, the United States, China and Brazil as its largest suppliers. Main imports include beef, pork, fresh fruit, poultry and tree nuts. Hong Kong re-exported $7.7 billion, or about one-third of its agricultural imports, chiefly to China and Vietnam. 

China, which is roughly the geographic size of the United States, has a population of over 1.3 billion. Over the last quarter century, China has evolved from an insular, centrally planned economy into a rapidly growing, market-oriented economy. Since China joined the WTO in December 2001, U.S. agricultural exports to China have increased twelvefold. In 2015, China was the second-largest market for U.S. agricultural exports behind Canada, reaching $23.5 billion. Sustained high demand for traditional exports such as soybeans and cotton continues, and demand for high value food, meat, and alcohol products are also surging. 

For additional information, please email trademissions@fas.usda.gov.

Data & Analysis

June 22, 2017
U.S. alfalfa exports to China continue to climb, reaching 1.29 million metric tons (worth $417 million) in 2016.
September 12, 2016
On August 5, 2016, China notified the WTO of draft standards on maximum residue limits (MRLs) in foods for 1,058 maximum residue limits (MRLs) covering 160 pesticides.
September 7, 2016
Bar chart showing the average annual U.S. agricultural export growth rates between the top destinations for U.S. ag exports.
September 6, 2016
At a combined $23.8 billion, China and Hong Kong represent 18 percent of U.S. agricultural exports to the world, up from 10 percent just a decade ago.