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China to deepen agricultural cooperation with U.S

02-13-2012 08:32 BJT

BEIJING, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The agricultural ministries of China and the United States will further enhance agricultural exchanges and cooperation, deepening mutual understanding and trust, so as to achieve mutually beneficial development in the future, said Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu on Sunday.

Han made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua prior to Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the United States.

Agriculture was one of the first areas in which China and the United States began to cooperate, as the two are both large nations of agricultural production, trade and consumption and viewed agriculture as a strategic and basic industry, said Han.

After 30 years development, China-U.S. agricultural cooperation has laid a solid foundation, with extensive exchanges and cooperation at all levels, the minister said.

According to Han, the agricultural ministries of both countries will push forward cooperation in the areas of food security, sustainable development, agricultural trade and science and technology, creating opportunities for cooperation between agricultural enterprises of the two countries and promoting joint research on agriculture.

He believes that, with the deepening of agricultural cooperation and the increasing openness of agricultural trade and investment, bilateral agricultural cooperation will have broader prospects.

EFFECTIVE AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION

The United States is a country with advanced agricultural science, technology and research into such fields as seed breeding and production, and has world-class multinational companies in agriculture, while China has broad market demands as well as leading technologies in food production, biomass energy and agricultural produce processing, said Han.

It will help improving the agricultural science and technology strength of both nations if China and the United States enhance their cooperation, he argued.

China and the United States have conducted effective cooperation in crop plantation, stock raising, fishery, agricultural research and education, agricultural product processing and circulation, he explained.

The two nations have launched more than 500 science and technology exchange programs since they established the working group on agricultural science and technology cooperation in 1980, with around 3,000 experts get involved.

They have maintained effective cooperation between academies and universities of agricultural sciences and nurtured a great number of talents, which have made important contributions for the advancement and development of agricultural science and industry of both nations, said Han.

FAST GROWTH IN AGRICULTURAL TRADE

Han said the fast growth of bilateral agricultural trade has greatly promoted the industrial restructuring of agriculture and made agricultural produce more abundant for the two countries.

Bilateral agricultural trade volume has increased to 24.5 billion U.S. dollars from 4.1 billion U.S. dollars during 2001 to 2010, with an average annual growth of 22 percent, according to official statistics.

In 2010, China imported 18.6 billion U.S. dollars-worth of agricultural produce from the United States. This accounted for 13 percent of the United States' total agricultural exports, said Han, noting China has become the main destination for U.S. agricultural exports.

In the same year, China exported 5.8 billion U.S. dollars-worth of agricultural produce to the United States, 12 percent of its total exports in the area. The United States is the third-biggest recipient of Chinese agricultural exports.

Although the proportion of agricultural trade in bilateral total trade volume is not high, the two countries still attach great importance to it due to the unique features of the agricultural industry, said Han.

The growing challenges posed by food security and climate change have also promoted cooperation between the two agricultural industries, he added.

INCREASED COOPERATION ON AGRICULTURAL INVESTMENT

Han paid great attention to the expansion and reinforcement of bilateral agricultural investment cooperation, noting enterprises are the main driving forces for the development of bilateral agricultural trade.

Since its reform and opening-up, China has attracted and made use of foreign capital to step up its construction of a modern agricultural industry, he said.

The minister noted that a great number of U.S. enterprises have invested in agriculture in China. From crop-plantation to machinery and sales, these investments have gained remarkable economic benefit.

Foreign investment also introduced advanced technology and management to China, which promoted the upgrading of its agricultural industry.

Chinese investments in U.S. agriculture have also increased in recent years, with growing desire from Chinese enterprises to invest abroad, according to Han.

He called on China and the United States to jointly promote investment cooperation between enterprises of the two countries in the areas of technology application and sustainable development, and create a good atmosphere for developing bilateral agricultural trade relations.

EFFICIENT MECHANISM FOR AGRICULTURAL COOPERATION

Han said the sustainable development of China-U.S. agricultural cooperation has benefited from sound and efficient cooperative mechanisms such as the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the China-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and the China-U.S. Joint Commission on Agriculture.

These have established a platform for agricultural cooperation and have given full play to the guiding role of both governments, he said.

Under the sound cooperative mechanisms, the two agricultural ministries have maintained regular contact.

In 2011, the two sides held the fourth meeting of the China-U.S. Joint Commission on Agriculture, which further enhanced its status as the main channel for bilateral agricultural cooperation and tightened guidance to the two working groups on agricultural sciences and biotechnology, he said.

In recent years, the two ministries have also enhanced their cooperation in agricultural policies, market information, research and development of agricultural sciences and technology, sustainable development and global food security, said Han.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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