Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping is set to visit Iowa next week as part of an effort to strengthen ties between the United States and China and increase international trade between the two economic giants.
Chinese agricultural consumption is a major component of the American economy and the American agricultural sector. Last year, China became the largest consumer of U.S. farm exports, purchasing $20 billion, or 14 percent, worth of American farm goods. In addition, China is the world’s largest importer of cotton and soybeans and could become one of the largest corn buyers within the decade.
This connection to Chinese consumer markets has helped shape American economic policy for years. Last November, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack travelled to China to discuss strategies to strengthen bilateral trade relations. In addition, Vilsack and Chinese officials planned the February 16 U.S.-China Agriculture Symposium as a way to strengthen trade relations and discuss economic disputes.
While both countries have a mutually beneficial agricultural relationship, several ongoing disagreements have threatened the diplomatic harmony. U.S. officials, for example, claim that China’s beef importation restrictions are too high and accuse Chinese officials of placing unfair tariffs on U.S. chicken parts. The symposium will offer a forum to air these and other ongoing trade disputes.
In announcing the symposium, Vilsack stated, “Thanks to the productivity of American farmers, ranchers and producers, consumers in China recognize the United States as a reliable supplier of high-quality food and agricultural products. Strengthening our partnership with China’s growing market is integral to the strength of the U.S. economy in the decades ahead.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer