While it's not true on a map, northeast China and Iowa are a lot closer than you may think.
And this week, a USDA trade mission into China's northeast agricultural areas will have a few pressing issues to address, including intellectual property rights, biotech approval and beef banned over leanness additives.
Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig is on the trip; he says, when it comes to trade, relationships matter. He thinks mutual understanding, particularly in problem areas, can lead to mutual benefits.
"These are all things that need to be talked about, and need to be discussed, and of course what we would hope for in the long run is - and again, whether it's China or any other country - that we would have science-based, transparent, predictable regulatory approaches. And so yes, I think these sort of trips, especially when you can do them in conjunction with other states, with the USDA, I think those are good things, and they build toward that goal of expanding markets in the end."
Northeast China produces 41 percent of the country's soybeans and third of its corn. As it tries to ramp up domestic production with government price programs, demand persists for both imported commodities and machinery.
Naig says, "Our producers benefit from expanded markets. Our agribusinesses benefit from those expanded markets. Chinese producers benefit from utilizing U.S. technologies and U.S. equipment - seed technology, for instance - and the Chinese consumer benefits from the availability of safe, quality products from Iowa."