Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Xie Feng at the U.S.-China … – 驻美国使馆

Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Xie Feng at the U.S.-China … – 驻美国使馆 yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7

Sow seeds of friendship and harvest fruits of cooperation on the fields of hope

Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Xie Feng at the U.S.-China … – 驻美国使馆 yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7
October 23, 2023

Your Excellency Ambassador Branstad,
Your Excellency Governor Holden,
Your Excellency Ambassador Quinn,
Acting Deputy Under Secretary Jason Hafemeister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear friends,
    It is a great pleasure to come to the beautiful state of Iowa, known as the granary and breadbasket of America.
    China was founded on agriculture, and we have a time-honored agrarian civilization. As a Chinese saying goes, “People are the foundation of a nation, and food is of paramount importance.” Ensuring sufficient food for the 1.4 billion people has always been our top priority. President Xi Jinping himself was once a farmer in Western China for seven years. A constant priority for him is to make agriculture stronger, farmers better-off and rural areas more beautiful. Agriculture is also one of the first and the most productive and promising areas for China-U.S. cooperation. Big granaries need big markets, and with big markets we are ready to share big opportunities.
China-U.S. agricultural cooperation features complementarity and mutual benefit. China is the world’s largest importer of agricultural products, while the United States is the largest exporter. China is the largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, taking up nearly one-fifth of the total. We are the biggest buyer of American soybeans, corn, cotton and hay among others. In fact, half of American soybeans are sold to China.
    China’s imports of U.S. agricultural products have been on the rise for four years in a row. Last year, our bilateral agricultural trade exceeded US$50 billion, with the United States exporting to China a record US$42 billion of agricultural products. On average, every American farmer exported over US$13,000 worth of agricultural products to China.
    China-U.S. agricultural cooperation is a rich land with bright prospects. Yesterday, Mr. Rick Kimberley told me that his farm invested over US$6.8 million earlier this year into a modern agriculture demonstration project in Zhejiang Province, China. Zhejiang is the cradle of the idea that “clear waters and green mountains are just as valuable as gold and silver”. It is also a national pilot zone of green agriculture. Just now, Chinese delegates told me that they will sign over 10 orders at the ceremony today, worth multi billion dollars. The momentum is running strong, and there is a lot to expect from our agricultural cooperation.
    Also, in one week, the sixth China International Import Expo will kick off. We are most happy to have more than 230 American businesses registered for the event this year. China will continue to open its arms and share development opportunities with the world.
    As we build up our strength in agriculture and seek to achieve modernization for the nearly 500 million Chinese farmers, getting enough to eat is no longer a problem; what the Chinese people care about now is how to eat well and healthy. As you can imagine, with that will come an even more robust demand for quality agricultural products.
    We are also advancing agritech innovation and green agriculture. All these will open up vast space for China-U.S. agricultural cooperation.
    China-U.S. agricultural cooperationbenefits both peoples and the world. An economist once asked: “Who will feed China?” Today, China’s grain self-sufficiency rate is above 95%. With less than 9% of the world’s arable land, we have managed to feed nearly one-fifth of the world’s population, and made positive contributions to international food security.
China’s hybrid rice is now grown in nearly 70 countries, which has boosted the total global grain output by 150 million tons, enough to feed 400 to 500 million more people. In the 1980s, the hybrid rice technology was introduced into the United States as the first agricultural patent technology exported by China. Four decades later, it has covered 50% of the total U.S. rice area.
    As we speak, about 800 million people around the world are still living in hunger, and global food security is facing grave and complex challenges. Agricultural cooperation between us not only has brought more food choices to our peoples’ tables and more income into farmers’ pockets, but will also enable us to jointly combat common challenges such as global food security with advanced agritech for the benefit of the entire humanity. This is the shared responsibility of China and the United States as two major countries for building a world free from hunger and want.
Of course, we are still facing difficulties and challenges in China-U.S. relations. To deepen agricultural cooperation, we need to say no to attempts to politicize economic issues or overstretch the concept of security. Recently, a top international agriculture company was ordered by a state to sell the farmland it had owned for 35 years. The company has employed 4,000 Americans, and has been serving American farmers with advanced agritech across over 40 states. Annually it provides a salary of about US$510 million and purchases US$2 billion worth of goods and services. Over the past 53 years of its operation in the United States, never has it posed any national security risk. But now, it is subject to unreasonable suppression simply because it was bought by a Chinese company six years ago.
If such discrimination and unfair treatment happens to an American company investing elsewhere, which risks getting kicked out anytime in disregard of the contract, how would the U.S. government and people feel? Is there any basic respect for the spirit of contract, market rules and fair play?
    Dear friends,
    Thirty-eight years ago, during his first visit to Iowa, President Xi Jinping personally sowed seeds of friendship. Today, the seeds have grown into lush trees. When getting together with his old friends from Iowa in 2012, President Xi said that “Iowa was my first stop to get to know the United States, and you were the first group of Americans that I came into contact with. To me, you are America.” Today, this is still the case: the warmhearted and hardworking people of Iowa continue to be the epitome of America.
In China, we have a popular song named “On the Fields of Hope”, which is about the farmers’ joy at a bumper harvest and expectation for a bright future. On my way from Des Moines to Muscatine in the footsteps of President Xi yesterday, the crops-laden, colorful autumn fields of Iowa again brought the melody to my mind.
I am deeply impressed by how much our peoples share in common: we both have a deep love for the soil under our feet, both take pride in our honest work, and both want a better life. Our pursuit of peace, enthusiasm for cooperation and value of friendship are not to be dismissed.
Let us together sow more seeds of friendship, and reap more fruits of cooperation on the fields of hope!
Thank you very much.
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America
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