Governor Tom Vilsack talked with reporters Friday about his recent trade trip to China and Korea. He says, “I think it was a very insightful and a very aggressive trip where we had a chance to talk to potential business prospects. We had an opportunity to visit with the media in Korea and China.” He says they also visited with Chinese officials. Vilsack says they did talk about one potential business deal with a company that would take cornstalk residue and turn it into paper. He says it’s an opportunity for Iowa State University to partner with the company and ramp it it up. He says it could be an opportunity for job creation. He says they held a seminar with Chinese businesses that he’s hopeful will result in leads. Vilsack says he didn’t expect to come back from the trip with a bunch of agreements. He says, “Dealing with Asian countries, Asian business leaders, it is really about building relationships, a long-term commitment. Our Korean relationship dates back 15-20 years, we’re just now beginning to see the impact of that relationship.” Vilsack says there was some political talk thrown in as well. He says, “I think one of the most important things we did was to convey to Chinese government officials, uh, the impact of trade so that they understand the political dynamic in the country. It is difficult to talk about trade when people perceive it as a job loss for American jobs. And there needs to be an understanding of that perception in America today as the Chinese and our government officials begin to meet to talk about trade issues.” Vilsack says it was a very “frank and candid” conversation.
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