China's accession to the WTO has been welcomed by a broad range of U.S. agricultural interests. The WTO agreement will lower tariffs and other barriers, and increase market access, but the actual benefits to U.S. exporters will depend on the competitiveness of U.S. exports with those of other countries and on China's implementation of WTO rules. Analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates immediate gains in export sales for U.S. agriculture, gains that will increase over time as market access expands and as Chinese economic growth boosts demand for imported agricultural products. However, some observers express less optimism, indicating that while U.S. exports to China should expand "in theory," in practice exporters will face several hurdles which must be overcome in order to reach the full potential of the Chinese market. This paper adds to USDA and other analyses of China's export potential by discussing the status of China's WTO implementation for agriculture, and provides a qualitative assessment of the potential for U.S. agricultural exports to China over the next few years.


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