Vice-president wraps up trip to Iowa, visits China Shipping terminal in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping concluded his trip to the U.S. state of Iowa on Thursday and arrived in California where he visited the China Shipping terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.

In Iowa, Xi addressed the China-U.S. High Level Agricultural Symposium in Des Moines, capital of the state.

He said China and the United States should enhance collaboration in science and technology, promote bilateral trade and strengthen the exchange of information so as to further deepen agricultural cooperation.

The vice-president said cooperation and exchanges between China and the United States in agriculture have maintained momentum in recent years, primarily because both nations are big agricultural countries and enjoy vast shared interests and ample room for cooperation in the area.

It is also because China has fully implemented its World Trade Organization commitments in the past decade, and reduced tariffs on farm products to one quarter of world average, said Xi.

In the past 10 years, China-U.S. agricultural trade grew more than 20 percent every year on average. Bilateral trade on farm products surpassed 30 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, making China the biggest export market for U.S. agricultural products, the vice president said.

The rapid increase in China-U.S. farm trade benefits the two peoples as high-quality farm products from both countries have found appropriate export markets, Xi said.

Moreover, the two countries have attached great importance to agriculture, and have conducted smooth and effective dialogue and substantial cooperation within such mechanisms 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, he said.

On further deepening China-U.S. agricultural cooperation, Xi called on both countries to enhance cooperation in science and technology, and make all efforts to improve the efficiency of agricultural production and push for sustainable development of agriculture.

Besides, the two countries should step up economic and trade cooperation, create a fair and rational market environment and fully tap their potential for cooperation, he said.

Both sides should also strengthen coordination and communication on international hotspot issues regarding agriculture and share information, Xi said.

In his speech, Xi also stressed the importance China places on supporting farmers and rural development, as well as on food security. China has always attached great importance to food security to ensure sufficient food supplies for its 1.3 billion people, Xi said.

The Chinese vice president toured a family farm in Iowa on Thursday.

Rick Kimberley, a 61-year-old soybean and corn farmer, and his family greeted Xi and his entourage in front of their house, together with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and other officials.

Xi asked a variety of questions on production and management of the farm, including how they read market signs and signals, how to weather years of poor harvests, how to guarantee environmental protection, and whether they had trouble gaining financing for crops.

Xi said he really enjoyed the "homey environment" in the farm. The elder Kimberley then showed Xi around the farm, introducing him several large pieces of equipment, including a tractor trailer and a combine and seed planter.

Xi climbed onto the tractor trailer with Rick Kimberley and tried his hand at the machine. At the end of the farm tour, Xi shook hands with Kimberley and wished him a better harvest this year.

The vice-president concluded his trip to Iowa and arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon. He was welcomed at Los Angeles International Airport by California Governor Jerry Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials.

During his visit to the China Shipping terminal at the Port of Los Angeles, Xi spoke highly of the positive role the terminal had played in enhancing economic and trade cooperation between China and the United States as well as in creating jobs for local communities.

The vice president said China and the United States could discover more bright spots of cooperation as long as the two sides seize opportunities and march toward a common goal.

Since the terminal began operation in 2002, it has seen rapid growth in business with its annual container throughput reaching 1.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) by the end of 2011, which accounted for one tenth of the total volume at the port. Meanwhile, the terminal generated100 million U.S. dollars of direct tax and provided over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs for locals during the past 10 years.

Xi said the success of China Shipping in Los Angeles was yet another example of China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation that had brought mutual benefits and win-win results.

It also showcased the potential for energy cooperation between the two countries, he added.

The China Shipping terminal is the first "green terminal" in the world. Alternative Maritime Power Supply is used in every vessel at berth. All facilities at the terminal are fueled by liquefied petroleum gas, which Xi called a successful model of green energy use.

Xi was accompanied by Brown, Villaraigosa and China Shipping Chairman Li Shaode.

California is the last leg of Xi's five-day U.S. tour. He will leave for Ireland and Turkey for visits on Friday.


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