David Ortega, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, provided expert testimony for a congressional hearing of the U.S. China Economic Security Review Commission on Thursday, April 26, 2018 in Washington, DC, on “China’s Agricultural Policies: Trade, Investment, Safety, and Innovation.”
“I was honored to receive the invitation from the commission and have this platform to share findings and insights from my work. China is one of our most important trading partners. Given the recent U.S.-China trade announcements over the past couple of months, the topic of this hearing is extremely important. Having the opportunity to directly influence U.S.-China food policy through my work at this critical time is definitely a career highlight.”
Included in Ortega’s testimony were expert discussions and summaries on China’s food safety situation and issues regarding environmental and soil pollution, biotechnology, e-commerce, food safety regulations, and implications for the United States.
“The food safety situation in China’s agricultural and food marketing system is an issue of paramount importance with serious domestic and global implications,” Ortega stated, in his testimony. “Many economists have called China’s emergence a ‘‘positive economic shock,’’ unleashing a consumer base and workforce of nearly 1.4 billion people into the global market. China’s rapid growth and development, however, has not occurred without setbacks and challenges.”
Ortega called upon Congress to take steps to support activities aimed at protecting the safety of our food supply and to adequately fund research that informs evidence-based policies on this very important issue.
“This is a testament to our programs and Ortega’s role as an expert in this field,” said Ron Hendrick, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University. “He’s conducting the cutting-edge research that needs to be done, and bringing it back to the university, to Michigan, to Congress, and the entire country.”
As an AFRE faculty member, Ortega’s research focuses on understanding consumer, producer and agribusiness decision-making to better inform food policies and agribusiness strategies. A significant portion of his work centers on food safety issues in China. Ortega has made 10 research trips to China, published 20 articles in peer reviewed journals on the topic, and has served as a visiting scholar, researcher or instructor at various Chinese universities.