China, US sign agriculture pact

China, US sign agriculture pact

LOWA - The Associated Press
China, US sign agriculture pact

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is seen here examining soybeans with local farmers in the US state of Iowa.

Top agriculture officials discussed ways to feed the world’s growing population during the first U.S.-China agriculture symposium held Feb. 16, with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping getting a chance to see how Iowa farmers are helping.

Xi headed into Iowa’s sprawling farm country shortly after opening the symposium in Des Moines, where officials from both nations signed a five-year deal to guide discussions on food security, food safety and sustainable agriculture. China became the top market for U.S. agricultural goods last year, purchasing $20 billion in U.S. agricultural exports, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Xi was joined by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and China Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu during the symposium. In his opening remarks, he said agriculture was an essential industry.

“Food security, energy security and financial security are three main areas of economic security in today’s world,” he said. “To promote international agricultural and for cooperation from a strategic perspective is of major and long-term significance.

The strategic cooperation agreement signed by Han and Vilsac outlines the mutual goals and responsibilities of each nation and details how the U.S. and China will address issues of food safety, security, sustainability and trade that are common to both.