China to boost grain imports from 'Belt & Road' countries


China aims to step up grain imports from countries linked by President Xi Jinping's project to create a modern-day Silk Road, seeking to diversify supply sources amid a trade war with the United States, a key cabinet researcher said on Wednesday.

With demand rising, countries included in Xi's ambitious 'Belt and Road Initiative' have strong potential to export “land-intensive agricultural products”, said Ye Xingqing, director of the Rural Economics department at the Development Research Center, a think-tank under China's State Council.

The Belt and Road plan, unveiled in 2013, aims at connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. China has pledged $126 billion for the plan, largely in infrastructure investment.

“It will be highly possible that these countries will win orders from China for land-intensive agricultural products,” Ye said, referring to grain that requires a large land area for growth in a speech at an industry conference in Guangzhou.

The comments come months into a trade war between Beijing and Washington that has significantly altered global flows in trade of soybeans and other farm commodities.

The Daily Star

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