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US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and China’s Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu have signed a Plan of Strategic Cooperation that will guide the two countries’ agricultural relationship for the next five years
The plan was signed as part of the recently-held US-China Agricultural Symposium at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, Iowa. The symposium focused on bilateral cooperation in the areas of food safety, food security, and sustainable agriculture, as well as enhanced business relationships between the two countries.
Xi Jinping, China’s Vice President, opened the symposium and stressed the importance China places on supporting farmers and rural development, as well as on food security. “China attaches great importance to food security, and ensuring a sufficient food supply for 1.3 billion people,” Xi said.
In the 2011 fiscal year, China became the top market for U.S. agricultural goods, purchasing US$20 billion in US agricultural exports. The value of US farm exports to China supported more than 160,000 American jobs in 2011, on and off the farm across a variety of sectors.
“This plan builds on the already strong relationship our nations enjoy around agricultural science, trade, and education. It looks to deepen our cooperation through technical exchange and to strengthen coordination in priority areas like animal and plant health and disease, food security, sustainable agriculture, genetic resources, agricultural markets and trade, and biotechnology and other emerging technologies,” said Vilsack.