It was the most anticipated meeting of the year. United States President George W. Bush and Chinese President Jiang Zemin met each other for the first time on October 19 in Shanghai during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum. The two leaders spoke about the war on terrorism, missile defence, arms proliferation, human rights and - not least - recent Chinese regulations governing genetically modified soya beans. While it may seem strange that soya beans would require the attention of a US President, for Mr Bush it made perfect sense - China's buying of US soya beans means money and power in American politics. When the mainland tightened its rules, a billion-dollar trade was threatened. It was a call for action for Mr Bush because free trade with China was an essential plank in his election campaign last year, winning him votes from the soya bean-growing states in the Midwest and campaign contributions from the agri-business community. During the 1999 Republican party primary debate in Iowa, the country's largest soya bean-growing state, Mr Bush's rivals attacked China's human rights policy. However, Mr Bush pledged to fight to open China's agriculture market to American farm products, proclaiming: 'Opening up Chinese markets is good for Iowa farmers. 'Yes sir, it is good for Iowa farmers!' The agri-business community's support was important to Mr Bush. The Washington-based Centre for Responsive Politics reported during the presidential election campaign last year that Mr Bush directly received more than US$2.6 million, and his Republican Party more than US$43 million, from the agri-business industry. Some of his largest agri-business donors are manufacturers of genetically modified soya beans, such as Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland. In fact, Archer Daniels Midland was the Republican Party's third-largest agri-business donor, giving it more than US$600,000 during the election campaign last year. Using the industry's money, Mr Bush won the support of seven of the 10 top soya bean producing states, propelling him to the presidency over rival Al Gore. The industry's investments seem to have paid off, with President Bush intervening in the trade dispute with China. The office of US Trade Representative announced earlier this month that the two sides had resolved the dispute, paving the way for US exports to continue. US Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said: 'This is good news for American agriculture. 'We have worked hard to resolve the issue for our soya bean producers.' The US Department of Agriculture estimates that US exports of soya beans and soy products will increase by an average of US$340 million over the next 10 years. The American Soya Bean Association said it hoped the Chinese market would account for 64 per cent of US production, a level that would be achieved if per capita consumption reaches half the level of Taiwan. For his efforts, Mr Bush and his Republican Party have been rewarded handsomely. According to the latest report by the Centre for Responsive Politics, the agri-business industry has contributed US$11 million to the US mid-term 2002 election, US$8 million of which is going to Republicans.