Government and industry leaders from the United States and China will gather in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 16 for the first U.S./China Agricultural Symposium.

In November, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to China to continue to strengthen bilateral trade relations and support the American brand of agriculture throughout the Asia Pacific region. During the visit, Vilsack and Chinese officials developed the U.S.-China Agriculture Symposium as a key forum to expand their discussions into 2012 and beyond.

“I’m honored to welcome China’s Vice President Xi Jinping and Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu to the United States, where we may continue our in-depth dialogue on issues of mutual concern,” said Vilsack. “Thanks to the productivity of American farmers, ranchers and producers, consumers in China recognize the United States as a reliable supplier of high-quality food and agricultural products. Strengthening our partnership with China’s growing market is integral to the strength of the U.S. economy in the decades ahead.”