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Chinese market "absolutely critical" to U.S., says state agricultural official
Column:Industry News Time:2019-04-06
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Chinese market "absolutely critical" to U.S., says state agricultural official

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/4/5 18:18:180


The Chinese market is absolutely critical to the United States, as it is not only huge but also full of potential, a U.S. state agricultural official has said.

"China is a huge country with more than a billion people, and you're importing a great deal of your food," Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, told Xinhua in a recent interview on how he evaluates the role of the Chinese market.

Agricultural exports play a vital role in the U.S. and Louisiana economies, Strain said.

In the state of Louisiana, exports amount to 8.3 billion U.S. dollars, said Strain. "That's one of every three acres."

Soybean production is worth about 800 million dollars, corn and other grains about 400 million dollars, and poultry more than a billion dollars in Louisiana, he said.

While valuing all the trading partners, Strain emphasized that the impact of the U.S. agricultural trade with China is extremely significant.

"If you look at soybeans ... 60 percent of the production of the United States goes to China. So for our production, it is critical. It's absolutely critical," he said.

China's continued purchase of soybeans over these years means "a great deal" to U.S. farmers, Strain said, adding that U.S. soybean growers can profit about 1.65 dollars more on each bushel of beans.

According to the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) website, China is Louisiana's top export market and ranks seventh in imports. The southeastern U.S. state imports 1.3 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese goods a year while exporting 7.9 billion dollars of goods to China, including mainly chemicals, fuels and agricultural products.

"Chinese commerce is already a transformative force in Louisiana's economy, with extensive trade and cross-border investment linking the two more strongly than ever before," the LED said.

Strain assumed the current post in 2008, and has been dedicated to promoting agriculture, expanding production and facilitating trade for more than a decade.

In the eyes of the commissioner, trade disruption could lead to a series of damage, while sustainable long-term trade is beneficial to all stakeholders.

The world's two largest economies are interlinked and highly complementary, Strain said.

A growing Chinese economy boosts consumption and multiplies demand for higher-quality food and grain, which will further translate into abundant business opportunities for the U.S. agriculture, he said.

Strain said he is excited about the latest progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

"Everyone is now negotiating in earnest, and these ongoing negotiations were getting closer," he said.

As the planting season approaches, the commissioner said he hopes that the two sides can strike a deal soon.

"We expect about 1.2 to 1.3 million acres of beans here. And we're expecting 88 million acres of beans in the United States. And so we're looking for a home (for the produce)," said Strain.