The United States and China signed a five year agreement on food security, sustainable agriculture, and food safety at an agricultural symposium in Iowa Thursday.

“We are the world’s two largest agricultural producers and strong collaborators in agricultural research and education,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the event. “Our great trade relationship benefits the citizens of both of our nations.”

“This plan builds on the already strong relationship our nations enjoy around agricultural science, trade, and education,” added Vilsack. “It looks to deepen our cooperation through technical exchange and to strengthen coordination in priority areas like animal and plant health and disease, food security, sustainable agriculture, genetic resources, agricultural markets and trade, and biotechnology and other emerging technologies.”

The agreement was largely focused food security and agricultural sustainability issues — China has 1.3 billion people to feed, and is increasingly relying on imports — but food safety was also a key part of the document, which USDA says will “guide the two countries’ agricultural relationship for the next 5 years.”

Vilsack told the audience Thursday the China and the United States “have opportunities to collaborate and partner on food safety” through implementing best practices and advancing science-based laws and regulations.