$2.1 bil­lion in soy­bean deals signed

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By MAY ZHOU in Des Moines, Iowa mayzhou@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Iowa Gover­nor Terry Branstad spoke of his “old friend” Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping as busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives from China and the US signed soy­bean deals worth more than $2 bil­lion.

Six­teen soy­bean pur­chase agree­ments val­ued at $2.1 bil­lion were signed be­tween more than a dozen Chi­nese and Amer­i­can com­pa­nies and pro­duc­ers in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct 14.

The sign­ings took place at the World Prize Hall of Lau­re­ates where Xi, then China’s vice-pres­i­dent, was hosted dur­ing his sec­ond visit to Iowa in 2012.

In wel­com­ing the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion, Branstad re­called Xi’s pre­vi­ous two vis­its to Iowa. “Pres­i­dent Xi’s first visit to Iowa in 1985 planted a seed that has grown over three decades and yielded tremen­dous value to both the peo­ple of Iowa and the peo­ple of China,” Branstad said.

“I have no doubt these con­tracts will en­hance our trade and in­vest­ment part­ner­ship and will be of great mu­tual ben­e­fit to both peo­ple in China and peo­ple in the US. Of­ten I have been re­ferred to by Pres­i­dent Xi as an old friend, and we value our old friend­ship with the peo­ple of China.”

Of­fi­cials from both China and the US, in­clud­ing CFNA (China Cham­ber of Com­merce of Food­stuffs and Na­tive Pro­duce) Pres­i­dent Bian Zhenhu, Deputy Con­sul Gen­eral of China in Chicago Liu Jun, Branstad and Lt Gover­nor Kim Reynolds at­tended.

Phil Karst­ing, ad­min­is­tra­tor of the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s Foreign Agri­cul­tural Ser­vice, ap­plauded the deals by say­ing that “co­op­er­a­tion like this helps us to meet the ev­er­in­creas­ing de­mand to feed the world pop­u­la­tion”.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhang Xiaop­ing, China di­rec­tor with the US Soy­bean Ex­port Coun­cil (USSEC), China buys about 60 per­cent of all im­ported soy­beans in the world, or 83 mil­lion tons.

China im­ports about 30 mil­lion tons of soy­beans from the US, which trans­lated into $15 bil­lion a year for US farm­ers in very year in re­cent years.

Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soy­bean As­so­ci­a­tion (ISA), said that Iowa, the top soy­bean and corn pro­ducer in the US, has been ex­port­ing soy­beans to China for more than 10 years. About one quar­ter of the state’s soy­beans have been sold to China in re­cent years.

Prior to the sign­ing cer­e­mony, a trade sem­i­nar be­tween Iowa and He­bei, Liaon­ing, Jilin and Hei­longjiang prov­inces was held. Or­ga­nized by CFNA, USSEC and the ISA, ex­perts from both coun­tries dis­cussed the sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion of soy­beans and mar­ket trends in the US and China.

CFNA Pres­i­dent Bian Zhenhu said that the state-prov­ince co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nism be­tween China and the US is fruit­ful. Dur­ing the two-day visit to Iowa, the del­e­ga­tion vis­ited farms where they met with farm­ers, ex­changed ideas and held sem­i­nars.

“In­for­ma­tion and is­sues dis­cussed and shared by the in­dus­trial ex­perts are very valu­able. It de­serves to be fur­ther ex­am­ined by busi­ness peo­ple on both sides,” Bian said.

The im­pact on soy­bean im­ports due to China’s slow­down in eco­nomic growth also was dis­cussed at the sem­i­nar. Bian as­sured the US farm­ers and busi­ness­peo­ple that China’s de­mand for agri­cul­ture prod­ucts will con­tinue to grow. De­spite China’s adap­tion to the new nor­mal, i.e., a slower growth rate, China’s de­mand for qual­ity pro­duce like soy­beans re­mains strong.

“Don’t worry, Chi­nese buy­ers will con­tinue to come here to sign pur­chase con­tracts,” echoed Liu Jun, deputy con­sul gen­eral of China in Chicago.

“When China im­ports agri­cul­ture prod­ucts, we worry that our own agri­cul­ture will suf­fer and face com­pe­ti­tion from other coun­tries,” Liu said.

“How­ever, we don’t close our mar­ket or ac­cuse oth­ers. Sim­i­larly, China ex­ports many in­dus­trial prod­ucts to the US, and we hope we will not see trade pro­tec­tion­ism or hear politi­cized and ir­re­spon­si­ble ac­cu­sa­tions.”

MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

Sec­ond row from left: Iowa Lt Gover­nor Kim Reynolds, CFNA Pres­i­dent Bian Zhenhu, Iowa Gover­nor Terry Branstad and Liu Jun, deputy con­sul gen­eral of China in Chicago, toast one another to cel­e­brate the $2.1 bil­lion in soy­bean­pur­chase agree­ments signed by Chi­nese and Amer­i­can busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday.

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