China’s Five Year Plan (2016–2020) – Implications for Australia’s red meat industry

12 November 2015


On 3 November 2015, the full text of China’s CPC Central Committee's Proposal on Formulating the Thirteenth Five-year Plan (2016-2020) on National Economic and Social Development (Plan) was released. Agricultural sector reform is a significant component of this Plan and there are a number of other areas that have implications for Australia’s red meat industry.

Some key highlights of these reforms over the next five years are:

  • A new focus on shifting to larger farms and "professionalised" farmers, aiming to increase productivity, efficiencies and enhance quality and safety. 
  • Policies to promote faster urbanisation, including reforms to allow rural migrants to attain urban residency status, to help promote consumption, development and social fairness. China aims to have 45% of its population as fully registered urban residents by 2020.  
  • Maintain an annual growth rate of 6.5% as a foundation to build a “moderately prosperous society" by 2020. This growth rate will support China’s aim to double its GDP and per capita income of both urban and rural residents from 2010 to 2020.
  • The government plans to improve rural infrastructure, including roads, access to water, power and internet, better education, healthcare and public services as part of its poverty alleviation goal.
  • The policy shift from the One-child to the Two-child Policy will help expand the middle class.
  • Policy changes will aim to facilitate more foreign investment in China by exploring innovative models of foreign trade, equipment manufacturing and services.
  • Continue to promote the shift of the economy from production to consumption and services, which will require dealing with industrial over-capacity, restructuring the economy and shifting to more innovation-led activities.
  • Overall, it emphasises the importance of innovation, coordination, protecting and improving the environment, opening up further to the global economy and sharing opportunities and benefits.

(Sources: Xin Hua News Agency and Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China)

This new Plan has several implications for Australia’s red meat industry:

  • Despite its desire to modernise and consolidate its agricultural production, the Chinese government has shifted its focus from self-sufficiency alone to accepting partial reliance on food imports, encouraging Chinese investment in foreign supply chains, as well as foreign investment in China. 
    • This presents potential for new opportunities for Australia’s red meat industry to invest in China’s meat production and processing sector, as well as Chinese investment in Australia’s sector. Initiatives that represent innovations in the industry are likely to receive particular support, as will those that promote environmental sustainability.
  • Chinese government policies to promote rural development as well as urbanisation, supported by its desire to maintain an economic growth rate of 6.5%, will facilitate the growth of the middle class, enhancing domestic consumption and improved infrastructure which will, in turn, help boost demand for, and offer greater access to, imported red meat.
  • The new Two-child Policy will help further stimulate domestic consumption and demand for food imports.

China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) has 10 overarching strategic objectives:

  1.  Maintain economic growth
  2.  Transform economic development mode
  3.  Adjust and optimize industrial structure
  4.  Push innovation-driven development
  5.  Accelerate the pace of agricultural modernization
  6.  Reform institutional mechanisms
  7.  Promote coordinated development
  8.  Strengthen ecological civilization
  9.  Secure and improve people’s livelihoods
  10. Promote poverty alleviation and development

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