Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China’s biggest producer of sugar, has reduced pesticide use by more than 30 tonnes since 2011 through biological pest control, local authorities said. Guangxi has used an army of Trichogramma chilonis, a kind of wasp, to combat sugarcane borers, in around 3 million mu (200,000 hectares) of low-yield fields over the past seven years, according to Guo Xuquan, deputy head with the Department of Agriculture of Guangxi…Full Article: Xinhua Oct 2017

Key Point

  • According to the deputy head with the Department of Agriculture of Guangxi, China has used more than 20 different types of insects as a form of biological pest control. In Guangxi Region, biological pest control measures have reportedly increased sugarcane yields by 29% per mu (100 mu = 6.667 hectares) in comparison to fields that use traditional pesticides.  Guangxi Region cultivates sugarcane on 15 million mu [~1 million ha] of land, accounting for more than 60% of China’s output.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In May 2017, China increased its outside tariff-rate quota (TRQ) on sugar. Prior to this, China had a 15% basic duty rate for up to 1.94 million MTs of imported sugar and an outside TRQ of 50%. The TRQ was designed to balance out the price difference between domestic and internationally traded sugar. For instance, in January 2014, the price gap between Chinese sugar in Kunming, Yunnan Province, and US sugar (ICE futures, export prices) was approximately USD 391 per MT. Unfortunately, this price gap has since expanded to roughly USD 664 per MT (as of June 2017). Recognizing that foreign sugar was more than 50% cheaper than domestically produced sugar, the Chinese government increased its outside TRQ to 95% (progressively declining to 90% and 85% in the following years) in hopes of curbing import demand for foreign sugar.
  • In September 2016, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced that China will sell 350,000 MTs of sugar from its state reserves at CNY 6,000 (US$900) per MT. During the same month, the Ministry of Commerce began investigating foreign sugar imports at the request (submitted July 2016) of the Sugar Association of the Guangxi Region.
  • In July 2016, the Sugar Association of Guangxi Region requested that the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) investigate sugar imports into the country. In September 2016, MOFCOM stated it would initiate a trade probe to investigate sugar imports going as far back as 2011.
  • In March 2016, Chinese authorities have launched a “Gateway Sword 2016” campaign (ends on 31 December 2016) in order to close 227 illicit border crossings into Guangxi, increase border patrols, and combat the influx of smuggled sugar, grain and frozen food. At the same time, according to a Chinese sugar industry expert, China has a 2 million MT per year sugar supply gap as the country’s output and imports total 14 million MTs, while consumption totals 16 million MTs annually. As a result of the sugar smuggling, China’s domestic sugar prices have not declined.The price of sugar in Guangxi Region was approximately CNY 5,400 per MT [~US$834 per MT].
  • In January 2016, Guangxi Region canceled a regulation that permitted individuals to import 1 kg of sugar per day.In 2015, China cultivated sugar cane on nearly 1.6 million hectares of land, with Guangxi Region accounting for 61% of the country’s total sugar cane area. The provinces of Yunnan and Guangdong were the next largest cultivators, accounting for 19% and 10% of China’s total sugar cane area, respectively. During the same year, China cultivated sugar beets on 136,830 ha of land, with Xinjiang Region accounting for 45% of the country’s total sugar beet area.
  • From 2014 to 2015, sugarcane and sugar beet recorded a decline in their respective cultivation areas due in part to the influx of relatively cheap sugar imports from abroad. For instance, the area of Chinese sugar beet cultivation decreased by -1.4% while sugar cane cultivation decreased by -9.1%. Sugar cane suffered disproportionally greater than sugar beet farming owing to the illegal smuggling of sugar from Southeast Asia into the sugar cane cultivations areas of Yunnan and Guangxi. An estimated 1 million to 2 million metric tons (MTs) of sugar is smuggled into southern China due in part to high domestic sugar prices, high outside tariff-rate quotas, and bureaucratically induced non-tariff barriers that restrict the inflow of legal sugar imports.
  • From the 2014-15 to 2015-16 season, Guangxi’s sugarcane production area decreased by 100,000 ha to 800,000 ha.
  • In 2014, China introduced a new registration system that required sugar importers that don’t qualify for the low import tariff quota to secure permits before their sugar clears customs. China was hoping to cap 2015 sugar imports at 3.8 million MTs.
  • In 2013, China produced 128.2 million MTs of sugarcane crops (unprocessed sugarcane). Guangxi produced 81 million MTs of approximately 63% of the country’s total output.
  • From 2011 to 2015, China’s annual sugar imports skyrocketed from 3 million MTs to 5 million MTs, equating to 30% to 50% of the country’s total sugar output.

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