WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) met Tuesday with China's Ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, to discuss opportunities and challenges across U.S.-China relations, including the planned launch of the Senate U.S.-China Working Group later this fall.
“As the world's two largest economies and energy consumers, the United States and China face numerous opportunities for cooperation, but also numerous challenges to overcome," said Senator Kirk, who co-founded the House U.S.-China Working Group in 2005 with U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.). "The U.S. and China grow more interdependent every day and we need a nuanced policy that reflects this 21st century reality. The Senate U.S.-China Working Group will create a space for Senators to hold open and frank dialogue with Chinese leaders on all issues of mutual concern."
The senators' discussion with Ambassador Cui touched on a wide range of issues, including the continued global economic recovery, bilateral trade issues, military cooperation and enhancing people-to-people ties.
According to the U.S. China Business Council, China is Illinois’ third largest export market. In 2012, Illinois exported $6 billion worth of goods to China – more than a 400 percent increase over the past decade. Crops are the top Illinois export to China, accounting for $2.4 billion in 2012. The Illinois Soybean Association estimates that 25% of U.S.' soybeans are exported to China.