WASHINGTON – China could become the top corn importer in just two to three years surpassing Japan, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Imports by China are forecast to more than quadruple to 4 million tons in the 2011-2012 from a year earlier, according to an April 10 report from the US Department of Agriculture. Demand for animal feed and meat is expanding with China’s middle class. In fact, growth in Asia and other emerging countries translates to 1 billion people joining the middle class by 2020, according to Thomas Dorr, president of the US Grains Council.

Also, Japan is looking to other countries such as Brazil and Ukraine and decreasing its reliance on US shipments.