Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Xu Xueyuan at the 2023 China-U.S. Agricultural Roundtable
2023/04/07 19:23

St. Louis, 04 April 2023

Ambassador Branstad,

Governor Holden,

Ambassador Burns,

Ambassador Quinn,

Acting Deputy Undersecretary Hafemeister,

Colleagues from China,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the 2023 China-U.S. Agricultural Roundtable. In 2021, the U.S. Heartland China Association held the first Agricultural Roundtable, and I gave video remarks on behalf of the Chinese Embassy. Over the past two-plus years, China and the United States have furthered dialogue and cooperation on agriculture and achieved positive results. The Agriculture Roundtable has become a signature event of such cooperation. This year in particular, under the coordination of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, three Chinese provinces—Jiangsu, Shandong and Hebei—sent delegations to attend the forum in person. Such scale of participation is for the first time since COVID began and was rare even before the pandemic. This is an encouraging sign of China and the United States working together to plant the spring seeds of cooperation. I expect these seeds to take root, thrive, blossom and bear fruit.

Last November, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden met in Bali. The two sides agreed to continue relevant dialogue and coordination especially on agriculture and food security. To follow through on what has been agreed, the two agricultural communities have maintained close contact and explored cooperation prospects.

Just a few days ago, Rick Kimberly, an Iowa farmer who once received President Xi Jinping in his farm, told us that he was invited to visit Anji in Zhejiang, China, to build a modern agricultural demonstration farm. Mr. Kimberly expressed his readiness to contribute to the common prosperity of Chinese and American agriculture. Zhejiang is my hometown, a province on the forefront of private economy and sustainable development. I believe this demonstration project will become a model of private-sector agricultural cooperation between the two countries.

Despite the ongoing difficulties in the bilateral relations, high enthusiasm and expectation remain across the two agricultural sectors and societies. This fully demonstrates the  momentum, resilience and potential of bilateral agricultural cooperation. In some sense, the guests here today are "farmers" committed to cultivating a sound China-U.S. relationship. With joint efforts, we will overcome the difficulties and open up horizons for mutually beneficial cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Strong agriculture provides the basis for a strong country. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government always give priority to the development of agriculture, rural areas and farmers. The 20th CPC National Congress has decided to build up China’s strength in agriculture in a faster pace. The overall requirements and concrete steps have been set forth in the Central Committee’s No. 1 Document released in the opening of this year. Those include: China will build, in light of its national conditions, a Chinese agricultural sector that is strong in supply, technical equipment and operation system, with resilient industrial chains and high competitiveness.

Both China and the United States are major agricultural countries. Both governments prioritize the stable growth of agriculture, the countryside and farmers' income. When China and the United States work together, we would bring about better well-being for our peoples.

Trading is the most important area that our two counties can continue to expand. According to U.S. statistics, American agricultural exports to China reached a record high of 38.16 billion dollars in 2022, up 16 percent year on year. This reflects the solid foundation of the agricultural trade between the two sides. It is also a result of China's continued efforts to provide tariff exclusion and trade facilitation for U.S. agricultural products despite COVID and other adversities. Although China's agricultural exports to the U.S. have grown, the scale and varieties remain relatively limited. We hope to further expand two-way trade, and export more aquatic products, vegetables, fruits and other high-quality, specialty products to the U.S.

Our two countries can also explore new areas of cooperation to achieve modernization of agriculture. The Chinese side is ready for more agricultural policy coordination, scientific and technological communication with the U.S. We could do more together, particularly on climate-smart agriculture, soil health, food waste, new varieties, new technology and new equipment, through mutual learning, information sharing and extensive cooperation.

Agricultural cooperation between China and the United States in a wider range of areas will help set an example for global agricultural development. Together, we account for 20% of global agricultural imports and 15% of exports. If China-U.S. agricultural trade gets unstable, the global market gets unstable as well. In recent years, affected by climate change, regional conflicts, COVID-19 and other factors, the global agricultural market has undergone continuous fluctuations. A healthy agricultural trade relationship between China and the U.S. will also help stabilize global markets of food and major agricultural products.

Practical projects between local communities motivate market entities to innovate. In recent years, despite many adversities, American states and Chinese provinces as well as associations stay active in communication and cooperation. For example, Hebei and Iowa, Henan and Montana have made useful explorations in the trade of grain, meat and other products and the relevant technological innovations. I strongly believe that the participation of three Chinese provincial delegations to this roundtable will bring about more practical cooperation initiatives to enhance the agricultural relationship between our two countries. This round-table itself has made constant efforts for improvement. The sessions are informative, with extensive participation. The topics are well-selected and forward-looking. We encourage more efforts of this kind to deepen agricultural exchanges at sub-national and private levels, which may bring new platforms and new pathways for China-U.S. agricultural cooperation.

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      Dear Friends,

      On China-U.S. relations, China’s position is consistent: a sound and stable bilateral relationship serves the fundamental interests of both countries and the two peoples. We want to develop this relationship on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. Recently, your old friend, State councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with a delegation of American friendly groups and business leaders in Beijing. He introduced China's efforts on policy continuity, high-level opening-up and strong economic rebound, and how that will benefit the U.S. business community. He welcomed continued efforts of American companies to explore the Chinese market.

      I believe the same welcome also goes to American farmers, agricultural businesses and organizations. Please come to China to see first-hand its agricultural and rural modernization, as well as the important opportunities the country could offer to the world’s agricultural development. I also hope that this round-table will lead to more face-to-face contact, greater understanding and more practical, win-win cooperation between Chinese and American agricultural communities.

      In conclusion, I want to thank the organizers for making this round-table possible. Your efforts are most valuable at this moment in time!

      Thank you.

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