China's agricultural imports more than doubled between 2002 and 2004 due to surging demand for basic commodities, a more open trade regime, and tighter commodity supplies in the Chinese domestic market.

U.S. agricultural exports to China jumped to a record $5.5 billion in 2004 due to dramatic growth in U.S. exports of soybeans, cotton, and wheat. China was the fourth-largest overseas market for U.S. farmers during 2004, accounting for 9 percent of U.S. agricultural exports.

China's agricultural exports continued to climb as well, but at a rate slower than its growth in imports. The outlook for Chinese imports is favorable due to strong economic growth and continued liberalization of the economy.