News / USA

Chinese VP to Boost US Farm Ties

The Muscatine Journal ran a photo of Xi Jinping's visit to the Iowa farm town as an agriculture official in 1985.
The Muscatine Journal ran a photo of Xi Jinping's visit to the Iowa farm town as an agriculture official in 1985.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s trip to the United States includes an unusual stop for a visiting dignitary: the Midwestern state of Iowa. The reasons are personal and professional. Xi will be returning to a state that hosted him early in his political career. And Iowa is a major source of the farm products that China depends on to feed itself and its livestock. Experts say it’s a relationship that is expected to grow in the coming years.

Xi Jinping first came to Iowa in 1985 as a junior official from China's Hebei province. That three-day visit included informal meetings with a hog farmer and a small vegetable grower, and had none of the trappings of his current U.S. tour. Back then, Xi stayed in the Muscatine, Iowa, home of Sarah Lande and her family.

“He slept in the kids’ room, with the toys, and sat at the table with the kids and the dogs," said Lande. "And he just got in the car with all of us. Not anything so special.”

But the visit left an impression on Xi. During his return to Iowa, he is making time for tea with the Landes and others he met here back in 1985.

“We feel just so special that he remembered us for the hospitality,” Lande said.

Aside from visiting old friends, Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes says the main reason Xi Jinping is visiting Iowa is fairly simple.

Stephanie Vermeulen measures the growth of a corn stalk in a Pioneer greenhouse in Johnston, February 9, 2012
Stephanie Vermeulen measures the growth of a corn stalk in a Pioneer greenhouse in Johnston, February 9, 2012

“China is rapidly running out of land and the kinds of products [it] produce[s], such as corn and soybeans," Hayes said. "And I think they want to make sure that they have good political connections with places in the world that have a surplus of land.”

China is losing farmland to urbanization, environmental degradation and land reclamation projects.

Meanwhile, its demand for food and livestock feed is growing rapidly. Agriculture is one rare part of the U.S.-China trade relationship in which the United States runs a surplus. In 2010, China exported about $3 billion worth of agricultural products to the U.S., but imported more than $17 billion. Eleven billion dollars of that was soybeans.

Hayes says China has become the number-one destination for U.S. agriculture exports. “That’s emerged only in the last five years or so. Export growth to China has just been phenomenal," Hayes said. "It’s not just corn and soybeans. At the moment they’re our number-one volume market for pork, for example.”

Iowa is the number-one U.S. producer of pork, as well as corn and soybeans. So it makes sense that the presumed future leader of China would visit the state.

The visit is important, Hays says, but his expectations are modest.

“Hopefully some goodwill and better trade," said Hayes. "Certainly we can use the markets and they can use our products. It’s a win-win situation.”

On Thursday, Iowa will host the first-ever U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium, focusing on food safety, food security and sustainable agriculture.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid