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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid