The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) released “Measures for the Administration of Experimental Zones for Opening and Foreign Cooperation in Agriculture” on 30 September 2021. This document integrates broad policy goals from the No.1 Document with regards to foreign cooperation in agriculture and offers a general guideline and framework how they should be implemented. The guideline is composed of 23 clauses. Main highlights of the document are the following:
- The goal of establishing Experimental Zones for foreign cooperation in agriculture is to provide a platform for agricultural opening and for the development of policies and to promote the internationalization of agriculture. Furthermore, they aim to realize “Multi-region overlap” and “integrated policy” and serve the “Belt & road initiative” and a high-quality opening of the agriculture sector.
- The Inter-ministerial Joint Conference on Foreign Cooperation in Agriculture will be responsible for the establishment, coordination and promotion of the Experimental Zones for foreign cooperation in agriculture. They will also be responsible for selecting, evaluating and cancelling the experimental zones.
- Experimental Zones for foreign cooperation in agriculture should meet following criteria.Area: Area for the experimental zones should be clearly defined and zoned and core area should not exceed 100 square kilometers; regional priority: Coastal and border regions and “Belt-road” regions should be given a priority.
- Foreign trade: Annual import and export volume should exceed 500 million Yuan or accumulated foreign outbound investment should reach 500 million Yuan or foreign inbound investment in agriculture should exceed 300 million USD.
- Approval: The Inter-ministerial Joint Conference will be responsible for handling the application for Experimental Zones for foreign cooperation in agriculture. After the successful evaluation by an expert panel and with proper consultation with relevant agencies, they can decide to approve it or not. After being approved, pre-approval should be announced for at least 7 days on the MARA website. If there are no further objections, the official approval announcement should be made on MARA website.
- Evaluation: Provincial agricultural departments should establish work mechanism to carry out the projects. The Inter-ministerial Joint Conference should evaluate the work of each project. Being among the top 20 national projects should be prerequisite for the extension. Projects already approved by the provincial agricultural departments will be given priority under the same conditions. Evaluations will be carried out by third parties.
- The Inter-ministerial Joint Conference will be responsible for interpreting the measure.