Finding Firmer Ground: The Role of Agricultural Cooperation in U.S.-China Relations

By US Heartland China Association – USHCA is proud to announce the release of a special report by the US Heartland China Association and The Carter Center:

About this report:
The precursor for this report is the US-China Agriculture Roundtable hosted by the United States Heartland China Association in spring 2021. During this event, diplomats, high-level government officials, CEOs of leading agricultural companies, and leading researchers from the United States and China discussed the present and future of US-China agricultural collaboration. Further research was conducted based on the Roundtable discussion to form this special report. 

Executive Summary:

Ever since the normalization of the US-China relationship in the late 1970s, communication, collaboration, and engagement between the two countries has brought mutual benefit. China has provided the United States with an expanding consumer market and low-cost manufacturing, and the United States has provided China with technology, capital, and access to the global market. Bearing a uniquely important connection to China, the United States Heartland continues to play an important role in the bilateral relationship. Not only does the US Heartland depend on China’s increasing demand for food to counterbalance its growing agricultural productivity, but China’s current president, Xi Jinping, has personal connections to the Heartland dating back to when he visited Iowa as a county cadre in the 1980s. During this visit, he and his hosts established a warm friendship, and President Xi later returned to Iowa as China’s vice president in 2012.

As of August 2021, the US-China relationship is at its lowest in recent history. The Biden administration has continued the trade war initiated by the Trump administration, and China continues to fall behind in fulfillment of its phase one deal purchase commitments. At the same time, the bilateral trade imbalance is worsening. Beyond trade, anti-China sentiments are rising in many segments of US society. Taking a tough approach towards China has achieved rare bipartisan consensus in the United States, and public opinion towards China has reached historic lows.

In this special report, we review the recent challenges to the bilateral relationship, reflect on the need for the U.S. and China to collaborate broadly in agriculture and identify channels through which the two countries can rebuild their relationship. Our conclusion is that more US-China cooperation in agriculture is needed to achieve goals that are of strategic importance for both countries.

Foreword excerpt:

This impressive study and analysis … adds a significant analytical element to the effort to enhance the Sino – American relationship through increased “Agricultural Cooperation” here in the Heartland of America, the part of the United States that has such a long and illustrious history of leadership in building connections between the Chinese and American peoples. 

Ambassador Kenneth Quinn (ret.), President Emeritus of World Food Prize, Strategic Advisor of USHCA

Preface Excerpt:
The US and China share in a remarkable opportunity for collaboration through agriculture and agricultural exchanges. There exists great potential for economic and agricultural achievements as our two nations work together to find solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.

Governor Bob Holden, Chairman & CEO of USHCA

Click here to read the report