China’s determination to become self-sufficent and resolve its food security challenges could put the U. S., as the world's leading producer in agriculture, in Beijing’s crosshairs, a federal report warned this week.
The report released by the U. S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) warned that China’s efforts to bolster its agricultural sector not only pose an economic challenge but a threat to U.S. security.
China’s failure to secure enough domestic production to feed its mammoth population means it has looked to nations like the U. S. to acquire farmland, livestock, equipment and intellectual property – in some cases through theft.
"The United States is a global leader in all of these fields, making it a prime trading partner and often a target of China’s efforts to strengthen its agriculture sector and food security, sometimes through illicit means," the report stated.
China is looking to dominate the genetically modified seed industry, which has the potential for massive economic windfalls.
Advancing Beijing’s seed stockpiles would not only reduce its dependence on nations like the U. S., it could make it a major competitor in the global market.
The USCC report found that the U. S. exported $1.62 billion worth of seeds, mostly vegetables, corn, soybeans and grasses, in 2020.
In 2021, $173.9 million of exported seeds were sold to China alone, which equated to roughly 15% of total exports.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has directed the agricultural industry to expand its seed collection as he looks to cut China’s reliance on foreign resources.
Rather than directing its resources for development and research in domestic seed innovations, spying has become a chief tool for its agriculture industry.
"Acquiring U. S. trade secrets through agricultural espionage has become a convenient way for China to improve its agricultural output and become more competitive in global markets," the report found. "Agricultural IP theft could enable Chinese agribusinesses to undercut U.S. competitors on international seed markets."
But outside the economic woes Beijing could inflict on the U. S. lies an even more ominous threat on U.S. food production.
Genetically engineered seeds help to circumvent the unpredictable reality the agriculture industry faces every season by mitigating the risk o... (Read more)
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