30 Years of Collaboration: U.S. – China Science & Technology Cooperation on Agriculture and Forestry
Recently, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director John P. Holdren and the Minister of Science and Technology for the People’s Republic of China, Wan Gang, signed an historic extension to the U.S.-China Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology. The newly extended agreement will foster a continuation of decades of cooperative endeavors that have encompassed such domains as agricultural science, high-energy physics, clean energy, and biomedical research.
USDA has been very involved in the past 32 years of cooperation. On December 7, 2007, the United States and China renewed the December 2002 protocol on cooperation in agriculture science and technology, which calls for cooperation between the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in agricultural biotechnology, natural resource management, dairy production, food safety, agricultural products processing, water-saving agricultural technology, and bioenergy. One of the earliest cooperative efforts resulting from this agreement concerned the stabilization of Chinese soils and rangeland to mitigate particulate matter in the air before the Beijing Olympic Games.
This protocol complements previous cooperative agreements, including an MOU signed by the USDA Forest Service (USFS) with the Chinese State Forestry Administration (SFA) in 2000, which launched a highly fruitful and focused exchange. In July 2010, as part of this exchange, the USFS hosted seven forest managers and technical experts from the SFA for an eight-day study visit to the United States. The Chinese delegates visited National Forests, National Parks, and Universities in Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Washington, DC. Their meetings in these locations covered such topics as the US approach to forest fire management, converting biomass to biofuel, pest species control, watershed management, climate change adaptation, and sustainable tourism.
The U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement was the first bilateral accord signed by the two countries after relations were normalized in 1979. In the 32 years since that agreement was signed, an enormous amount of scientific and technological collaboration has been achieved. With the signing this month of a new extension to this historic agreement, the United States and China renew their commitment to continuing such endeavors.