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Development of Chinese Agriculture since WTO Accession


  • Colin A. Carter
  • Funing Zhong
  • Jing Zhu


This article discusses the main agricultural impacts of China's WTO accession and the associated challenges. We elaborate on four issues - agricultural production and trade, food security and self-sufficiency, farmers' incomes, and rural land reform. After more than seven years of WTO accession, the value of China's agricultural production and trade has increased and China has turned into a net importer of agricultural products. Globally, China now ranks as the fifth largest agricultural exporter and fourth largest agricultural importer. Although considerable resource shifts have taken place from land-intensive towards labour-intensive agricultural products in both production and trade, this transfer remains well below the potential due to trade barriers facing China's exports of labour-intensive agricultural products. Farmers' incomes increased after WTO entry, with a growing off-farm portion linked closely with world economic cycles. Rural land reform to improve economies of scale will require complementary policy aimed at a fully integrated labour and housing market, as well as a unified education and social welfare system for all of China's society. We argue that WTO accession has impacted China's agriculture in a positive fashion and has improved the efficiency of the sector, but accession has also given rise to new agricultural policy challenges. Copyright (c) 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) The Agricultural Economics Society and the European Association of Agricultural Economists 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Colin A. Carter & Funing Zhong & Jing Zhu, 2009. "Development of Chinese Agriculture since WTO Accession," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 8(SpecialIs), pages 10-16, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:eurcho:v:8:y:2009:i:specialissuechina:p:10-16

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    Cited by:

    1. Kleinwechter, Ulrich & Grethe, Harald, 2012. "Trade policy impacts under alternative land market regimes in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1071-1089.

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