Leaders from the agricultural sector of the United States are in China to discuss trade.

On Thursday, in an effort to strengthen agricultural trade, representatives from the American agricultural industry met with their Chinese counterparts in Beijing. This comes despite political tensions between the two countries. A delegation of 11 groups, including the U.S. Soybean Export Council and U.S. Wheat Associates, is visiting China after Chinese grain buyers signed non-binding agreements in Iowa to purchase agricultural products worth billions of dollars, primarily soybeans, in the first such agreement since 2017.

This week’s visit, which had become unusual due to tensions and pandemic-related restrictions, precedes an anticipated meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in San Francisco later this month. Nicholas Burns, the U.S. Ambassador to China, mentioned, “We have a very complicated relationship, but agriculture is the anchor of the relationship.”

Representatives from the U.S. Grain Council met with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce to address measures against unfair competition and anti-subsidies from China on U.S. imports of dried distillers’ grains (DDGS), a protein-rich byproduct of ethanol production used in animal feed. Cary Sifferath, Vice President of the U.S. Grain Council, commented on the suggestion to engage with the domestic industry for support.

Cereals and oilseeds represent the primary U.S. exports to China, valued at $25.4 billion last year. However, Brazil has gained ground in the Chinese market with record soybean and corn harvests. China has diversified its import sources since the trade war initiated by Donald Trump and has opened its market to Brazilian corn.

In the first nine months of 2023, Brazilian soybean imports have increased by 18% compared to the previous year, surpassing the 8% increase in arrivals of U.S. soybeans. The delegation, the largest since 2016, will travel to Shanghai for China’s annual International Import Expo, where the U.S. Department of Agriculture will have a pavilion for the first time since the event began in 2018.

Published by The USA Herald, a news and information agency.

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