Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to visit Iowa, the second stop on my journey to the Midwestern States. Iowa is known as the “Tall Corn State”. Coming to Iowa gives me a great opportunity to see for yourself the boundless black soil and get a hands-on experience of the down-to-earth and refreshing farm work here. When I arrived yesterday from Illinois, it was raining hard and cold. But today we have warm sunshine, just the right weather to sow seeds. I can feel that not only is spring in the air, but Iowa Nice is in the air too! I am actually surrounded and overwhelmed by the warm friendship.
My trip to America’s Heartland for me is a HEART journey, which aims to: Help establish friendly relations and trust, HEART, and help strengthen agricultural and rural ties, HEART.
In April 1985, President Xi Jinping visited Iowa for the first time, learning about local agriculture and animal husbandry. He was warmly received by local residents and it has sown the seeds of friendship between China and the United States and agricultural cooperation. Ten years ago, in the early spring, President Xi returned to Iowa, a trip dubbed “Cornfield Diplomacy” by the American media. Right next to the World Food Prize Foundation Hall of Laureates building where we are now, he attended the 2012 China-USA High-level Agricultural Symposium and gave an important speech entitled “Write a New Chapter of China-USA Win-Win Cooperation in agriculture”.
In his speech, he sincerely hoped that China and the United States would deepen agricultural exchanges and cooperate to make our agriculture more developed, rural areas more prosperous and farmers better off.
Today, the cornfield diplomacy continues. We gather here again to review the past ten years and look at the future of our agricultural cooperation. This is particularly important not only because the seeds of friendship and cooperation that President Xi has sown have taken root and grown, but also because food security has re-emerged with the resurgent pandemic, fragile global recovery, faster climate change and growing regional conflicts. . become a major practical issue facing China, the United States and the rest of the world.
China is the world’s largest agricultural importer and the United States the largest exporter. When the Chinese’s desire for a better life meets American quality agricultural products and advanced agricultural technologies, new potential for agricultural cooperation has emerged. Strategically, promoting win-win agricultural cooperation will not only improve the diversity of the food supply to the Chinese people and increase the income of American farmers, but also make the global food supply more stable and secure and contribute to the global fight against climate change.
In the last ten years, trade in agricultural products between China and the United States has grown by a total of $ 10.5 billion. The United States has become China’s second largest source of agricultural imports and the third largest agricultural export destination, and China remains the largest export market for American agricultural products. For the past ten years, our exchanges of agricultural science and technology have been fruitful. We have exchanged over 100 intergovernmental technology groups with nearly 700 reciprocal visits. Such exchange programs have helped Chinese and American agricultural scientists and educators establish contacts and effectively promote common R&D and the use of new technologies. For a long time, organizations like the China Agricultural Association for International Exchange and the American Heartland China Association and many companies in both countries, such as Syngenta and Continental, have served as a bridge for communication and cooperation in this process. Thank you for your meaningful work!
In my current visit to the “Golden Corn Belt”, I went to a dry mill plant for ethanol and DDGS and a milk producer. I have felt sharply from them how sweet and sincere, how kind and hard-working American farmers are, just like Chinese farmers. I have also come to know that American agriculture is undergoing a low-carbon and green transition, where farmers are using advanced technologies and methods for carbon capture and storage and using quality feed to reduce methane emissions. China has set itself the goals of reaching carbon peaks before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. To achieve these goals, it is necessary to use advanced technologies, experience and seeds to address climate change in agriculture. This will certainly create new opportunities for agricultural cooperation between China and the United States.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In the last two years, China has made a huge effort to fully implement the Phase 1 trade agreement. Despite the pandemic, we have not used the force majeure clause and have even adopted a market-based exclusion process for countermeasures on US soybeans, cereals, meat, aquatic products and fruits. This fully shows our sincerity and good will. By 2021, our agricultural trade reached $ 46.4 billion and reached a record high, and China’s agricultural imports from the United States were $ 38.85 billion, a growth of 64.8% from an already high base in 2020. Such a rate was higher than the 28.6% growth of China’s agricultural imports from the world and much higher than the growth of 23.3% in US exports to the world. According to the U.S. Export Trade Report 2022, recently released by the US-China Chamber of Commerce, when China implemented the Phase 1 trade agreement, US farmers exported billions of dollars more in oilseeds and grains and over a billion dollars more in meat products, improving farmers’ well-being in America’s Heartland. The growth in these exports provides thousands of new jobs to more than a dozen congressional districts. Iowa’s 4th, Kansas 1st and Nebraska’s 3rd districts all had increases of more than 5,000 jobs. Facts have proved that economic and trade relations between China and the United States are win-win, and restoring normal trade ties between the two countries as soon as possible is a common call from both sides.
Ancient Chinese wisdom believes that agriculture is the basis of the world. Dr. Norman Borlaug, a native of Iowa and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, also said: food is the moral right of all who are born into this world. With 1.4 billion people, securing food supply is, by ourselves, the most important thing we can do for global food security. We must not only feed them, but we must feed them well. At the same time, we never turn our backs on international markets and resources. The door to the Chinese market is open to the world. China and the United States are naturally compatible and complementary to each other in the field of agricultural trade, and our potential for agricultural cooperation is limitless.
We need to deepen economic and trade cooperation, promote two-way and normal agricultural trade, remove existing barriers such as additional tariffs and create a stable business environment for industry. We must strengthen cooperation in science, technology and education, focus on sustainable development, strengthen technological support and cultivate young agricultural researchers and technicians. We need to increase the exchange of policies and information, restore the agricultural dialogue mechanism as soon as possible and improve communication. We need to build international synergies and play a proper role as major countries in ensuring global food security.
As we face a complex and serious situation in the field of agricultural development and food security worldwide, I am convinced that China and the United States, as major agricultural producers, consumers and traders, should meet challenges together, maintain stable agricultural development, increase agricultural resilience. supply chains, ensure food security in the domestic market and promote cooperation on international food security. This will certainly be useful for maintaining world peace, promoting global economic development and social stability, and delivering sustainable development. Let us remember: no food, no stability, no peace. That’s the value of Ambassador Quinn’s and your colleagues’ good work at the World Food Prize.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I toured the Hall of Laureates before speaking here and saw all the names of the World Food Prize winners. One of them was the well-known Chinese agricultural scientist Mr. Yuan Longping. Mr. Yuan once famously said, “Be a good seed.” This was not only the reason for his longevity, but also a depiction of his integrity and big heart as a person.
With Mr. Yuan’s teaching in mind, I have come to Iowa, the heart of America, and the warmth and friendship of the people of Iowa touches my heart, and my heart goes out to the people of Iowa, too. Since we have hot sunshine today, I think farmers in Iowa will start sowing their seeds tomorrow. Let us work together in this sowing season for the future of the relationship between China and the United States, for the welfare of our two peoples and to become a good seed, with HEART!