Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Agricultural Exporters Complain

According to the Farmers' Daily, agricultural exporters are encountering hard times.

In one of a series of articles released by the Farmers Daily based on interviews with the big-wigs attending the National Peoples Congress in Beijing this week, several executives of Chinese agribusinesses offered their opinions on difficulties faced by agricultural exporters.

According to the article, many agricultural exporting enterprises face the biggest difficulties in the last 10 years. Export competition is increasing, antidumping threats are increasing, costs are rising, currency appreciation is accelerating.

Jiang Hongbin, chairman of Heilongjiang Province's Zhengda Shiye Ltd Co, said, “Really, at present our agricultural exporting enterprises face the accumulation of long-term pressures.” He cited the livestock industry's long-time mode of “low investment, low standard, low benefit” as a problem.

But Jiang blames China's lack of subsidies for weak competitiveness in the world market. He complains that developed countries gave subsidies for exports and production, but in China subsidies were relatively small. He also blames "green barriers" as an important reason limiting China's agricultural exports. Some developed countries had technical requirements for production, packaging, waste treatment that our agricultural exports normally could not meet.

Jiang goes on to complain that Chinese exporters have lost their price advantage in world markets due to Chinese currency appreciation and rising costs.

The chairman of Wuhan City's Lingpeng Group doesn't blame all his problems on foreigners. He says companies have to raise their internal management and raise the quality of their products. However, he also looks to the government: "It must give various support measures to different industries."

Jiang suggests giving financial and tax support to agricultural "dragon head enterprises" to set up "model export production bases." [In fact, they are already doing this.]

An official from COFCO, one of the government's industry champions acknowledges that agricultural exporters are facing greater difficulties, but he suggests shifting focus to the domestic market instead.

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