© Khunaspix Dreamstime.

Despite being America’s biggest agricultural export market (worth US$25 billion in 2013), in a report to Congress the US Trade Representative said China was “among the least transparent and predictable of the world’s major markets for agricultural products”. The report urged the Chinese government to reduce trade barriers, be more transparent, less discriminatory and reform state-owned enterprises and develop a stronger legal system. The USTR welcomed China’s recent announcement of intentions to reform its economy but said it would not hesitate to lodge new disputes with the World Trade Organisation if bilateral talks on a range of contentious issues from agriculture to intellectual property fail.