China has had difficulties with international agriculture trade as it has opened its markets in the past decades. The story of the Chinese soybean is one such problem. In the early 2000s, China mostly grew its own soybeans. However, as markets opened further and trade restrictions were removed, China succumbed to increasing domestic demand and low international prices. China was importing more soybeans than they were producing by 2004 and now they are the world’s leading soybean importer, importing a staggering 63.4 million metric tons a year.
It is this fast paced move from self sufficiency to total dependency on imports that has Chinese officials concerned with the growing domestic demand for corn. China was a net exporter of corn until 2010. Now the question is whether China will promote their domestic growth of corn or if they will follow their historical precedent of the soybean. GMOs may provide a boost to domestic output, but much of the country is still hesitant to adopt any genetically modified crops.
Further Reading: http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/02/13/china-sees-a-worrying-history-lesson-in-corn/