China announced a series of measures to reduce tariffs and expand imports at the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, including a 55.9 percent average decline of the most-favored-nation treatment rates for various sectors, including food and beverages. In addition, with the development of cross-border e-commerce and custom transportation, buying imported food is becoming more convenient and efficient.
China has identified 22 cities, including Beijing, Nanjing in Jiangsu province and Wuhan in Hubei province, as venues for comprehensive cross-border e-commerce pilot zones. The growth rates of imports and exports in these pilot zones remained above 100 percent in the past two years.
Platforms for cross-border e-commerce are also thriving. As of May, more than 400 third-party platforms and 20,000 transnational e-commerce enterprises had been newly established in the first 13 pilot zones.
Chinese consumers’ demand for imported food has been growing steadily as the standard of living in China improves, according to a statement from the General Administration of Customs. China’s total food imports amounted to $58.28 billion last year, up 25 percent year-on-year, while the annual average growth rate over the previous five years was 5.7 percent, data from the administration showed. The European Union remained China’s largest supplier of food, followed by the United States, New Zealand, Indonesia and Canada. Meat, oil, dairy and seafood were among the most popular food imports in China.