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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

US state hopes to expand business

By Chen Jia (China Daily)

10:50, February 16, 2012

WASHINGTON - The secretary of agriculture for the US state of Iowa expects Vice-President Xi Jinping's ongoing visit to the country will promote the state's agricultural exports through lucrative trade agreements with China.

"The benefits of trade with China are enormous for us. I don't know whether there is an agreement yet, but hopefully, likely and probably, it will be something involving soybeans, pork and corn," Bill Northey, the state's agriculture secretary, said in Washington prior to Xi's visit.

"I am looking forward to building better connections and having longer conversations about what we can do to build more business relationships between Iowa and China," he said.

"Soybeans are the biggest crop and provide the most employment because China is the largest buyer in the world, and that demand has grown in the last 15 years," he said.

China began to import soybeans in 1996, and by 2010, the country was bringing in 54.8 million tons of the beans a year, making it the largest net importer of soybeans in the world.

A change in dietary habits has caused demand for soybeans to soar among Chinese people, who are consuming more meat and oil rather than grains. And soybeans are also used widely in China to produce cooking oil and animal feed.

"Iowa is in the Northwest, and the Northwest has become a stronger region recently in terms of economic growth in the country," he said. "A significant part is due to China."

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