The ripples of China’s one-child policy change may be felt as far away as the fields and processing plants of the U.S. farm belt, which has already been shipping a growing share of its soybeans, pork and other products to feed the Asian giant.
Precisely how the further loosening of the three-decade-old population-control policy will affect China’s demographics—and by extension, the U.S. growers and agriculture companies—is hard to forecast. China’s ruling Communist Party said in a broad blueprint for reform issued Friday that it will allow couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child, adding to existing exemptions for groups including rural dwellers and some ethnic minorities, as well as couples consisting of two only children. But the impact will depend on how the policy is implemented, and how couples respond.
Still, economists said anything that further grows China’s population—which had been projected to peak around 1.4 billion in 2020—is likely to add to demand for U.S. farm goods.