Indian-produced chili meal has been approved to enter China market as Beijing is trying to diversify its agricultural products’ imports sources. An expert said that China’s vast growing market will further open to countries respecting multilateral free trade rules.

China commenced chili meal imports from India from the end of July, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) announced on Monday, citing a notice released by the GAC on July 29. From that date, China has allowed Indian chili meal that meets quarantine requirements to enter the country.

Indian chili meal that is shipped to China must accord with related protocol regarding sanitary and phytosanitary regulations agreed by authorities from both sides, the note said. The phytosanitary standards were established by China and India in May, according to a notice posted on the website of China’s embassy in India on May 11.

China is expanding imports resources for agricultural products to reduce the risks it had relied on a small number of sources like the US for soybean imports, Li Guoxiang, a research fellow at the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.

The escalating China-US trade war and the US’s unilateralism drove China to search for new imports sources, Li said.

China’s need for agricultural products is growing rapidly, and the growing market is benefiting more countries while imports from the US are seeing a dramatic drop.

China’s agricultural products imports have grown 14.1 percent year-on-year to $416.37 billion, according to data released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on July 19. Imports from Brazil, ASEAN, the EU and Australia witnessed rapid growth, the ministry said.

China’s agricultural products imports from the US dropped 55.3 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2019, according to data released by the Ministry on June 24.

China will further open its market to more countries respecting free trade rules and multilateralism, Li said. The country’s agricultural products imports from India are still relatively low, but the potential is great, Li added.

China and India’s total trade volume in 2018 grew 13.2 percent year-on-year to $95.54 billion, while imports grew 15.2 percent to $18.83 billion.