China’s agricultural trade deficit increased more than 14-fold in the first five months of 2008 over the same period last year, AFP reported, citing state media. The deficit of US$7.57 billion came as China imported US$23.75 billion of agricultural products during the period, a 59% year-on-year increase. Agriculture exports increased by 12% to US$16.18 billion. Rising global food prices have prompted Beijing to increase agricultural export taxes and crack down on grain being smuggled out of the country. China is self-sufficient in most staple crops, but relies on imports of some agricultural products, such as soybeans, to meet rising domestic demand.