U.S. sees great potential for Sino-U.S. cooperation in agriculture

The United States sees great commercial potential for Sino-U.S. cooperation in agriculture, as China is the top market for its produce, a high-ranking U.S. official has said.

With the U.S. Food and Agriculture Pavilion established at the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE), the United States “can create greater confidence in businesses on both sides to sign contracts and do deals,” said Jason Hafemeister, acting deputy under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The pavilion, opened on Monday, includes 17 exhibitors led by the U.S. government for the first time. This year, more than 200 U.S. exhibitors in various sectors, ranging from semiconductors, medical devices, new energy vehicles to cosmetics, attended the annual expo, marking its largest presence in the history of the CIIE since 2018.

The U.S. delegation’s participation in the expo is for all relevant parties “to know that this relationship is important to both governments and that we want to encourage agricultural trade and technical cooperation,” Hafemeister said in a joint media interview.

“So this is all about ensuring the people involved in day-to-day work that this is a good field of business to be engaged in,” he said, adding that with increasing demand in China, “American producers are fully able to meet that.”

“China is a good market for U.S. agricultural products. It’s our top market. We think it can be even better. We see great growth potential here,” said the official.

In this aspect, he pointed out the advantages of U.S. producers, who “are productive and competitive,” provide world-class crops such as wheat, corn and rice, livestock products like beef, pork and dairy, as well as fruits like apples, oranges and grapes.

Currently, China is the largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, taking up nearly one-fifth of its total. China is also the biggest buyer of American soybeans, corn, cotton and hay, among others. Half of American soybeans are sold to China.

Late last month, several Chinese companies and U.S. commodity exporters signed 11 purchasing agreements of U.S. agricultural products worth multiple billions of U.S. dollars at the China-U.S. Sustainable Agricultural Trade Forum.

“These contracts illustrate the gains from trade: food is moving from surplus regions to deficit,” Hafemeister said during the signing ceremony on October 24. 

Also present at the signing ceremony was Chinese Ambassador to the United States Xie Feng, who stressed that agriculture is “one of the first and the most productive and promising areas for China-U.S. cooperation.”

“Big granaries need big markets, and with big markets we are ready to share big opportunities,” Xie said, describing China-U.S. agricultural cooperation as “a rich land with bright prospects.”

During the expo, Hafemeister also mentioned that as China continues to produce most of its own food, the United States is “eager to help and have technical discussion with Chinese officials about sustainable agricultural production, climate-smart agricultural production, (and) more ways to produce sustainably.”

The sixth CIIE, scheduled in Shanghai from November 5 to 10, signifies the event’s first full return to in-person exhibitions since the onset of COVID-19.

This year’s CIIE has attracted attendees from 154 countries, regions and international organizations, and marks the debut of 11 countries in the Country Exhibition, with 34 countries set to make their first offline appearance.

(With input from agencies)

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