Governor Branstad Leading China Trade Trip

By James Lynch, Reporter

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By Adam Carros

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Gov. Terry Branstad will lead a 46-member trade delegation to China next week that will include a number of Iowa businesses and universities as well as three other governors.

Branstad and state Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham will meet with senior government officials and current and potential business partners during the April 12-19 trip, the governor said Monday. They have requested a meeting with China’s new president, Xi Jinping, but that has not been confirmed.

“Our state has a long and unique history with China’s new president,” Branstad said.

Xi first visited Iowa in 1985 and returned last year before assuming the presidency.

That relationship is important and likely to lead to more opportunity for Iowa farmers, manufacturers and business, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds predicted. China imported $3.2 billion worth of goods last year.

Chinese imports are important not only for Iowa farmers but the entire state, Branstad said. The Business Roundtable estimates international trade supports 430,000 jobs in Iowa, and every $1 of Iowa farm exports creates $1.31 of economic stimulus.

China is by far the largest export market for Iowa soybeans, according to Kurt Leeds, president of the Iowa Soybean Association.

While China imported about 60 million metric tons of soybeans, the rest of the world imported about 35 million metric tons, Leeds said. One in every four rows of Iowa soybeans ends up in China, and he expects that to increase to one in every three rows.

The delegation will include representatives from ACT, ADM, Cargill, DuPont Pioneer, Pella Corp. and the University of Iowa, among other business and educational interests.

Gov. Eddie Calvo of Guam, Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and their delegations also will be a part of the trip that was arranged by the National Governors Association.

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