BEIJING (Reuters) - The food industry faces a “minefield” of complaints and restrictions following China’s president’s move to open up imports of key products, the head of China’s imports lobby said on Thursday.
FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
President Xi Jinping announced in a policy speech at the annual meeting of parliament last week that China would aim to double imports to $10 trillion by 2025, at a time when Europe and the United States are imposing tariffs.
“Clearly there is an agenda to open up and reform,” Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming told reporters.
Foreign companies could face double taxation and auditing as well as review processes based on national security procedures under a review scheme covering new import regulations which will be announced in early April, Qian said.
Agricultural imports could be a particular focus given concerns over gluten, said France’s ambassador to China, Patrick Chomet.
“There could be a lot of complaints, but all of them will be encouraged because this has shown that China’s economy is changing,” Chomet told reporters, adding that French poultry producers will not be affected by the new regulations.
Some Western producers expressed concern that raw materials such as corn and soybeans could be similarly protected.
“Corn is more difficult. Soybeans are already an issue in U.S.-China trade politics, so it’s hard to say if this will not trigger more problems,” said Kelly Chang, an analyst at Chinese researcher Guotai Junan Futures.