Members of an Iowa trade delegation to China say they believe the recent visit to Iowa by China’s vice president has raised the state’s profile in that country. Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and members of the state’s soybean industry arrived in China over the weekend. They’ve met with Vice President Xi Jinping, who visited Iowa last month. Reynolds presented Xi with a photo album from that trip.
Reynolds says Chinese government and business leaders are expressing excitement about the possibility of more trade with Iowa in the future. “Everyone could recount the visit and if they hadn’t participated in the visit, they really wanted to find a way to travel to Iowa within the next year,” Reynolds said in a conference call with reporters.
Leaders of the trip say it’s mostly about firming up relationships and laying the groundwork for future business deals, especially involving Iowa soybeans. Iowa Soybean Association CEO Kirk Leeds said while no new deals have been struck, relationships are being cemented. “I would highly anticipate that there’s going to be high level government to government exchanges between Iowa and the sub-national government,” Leeds said.
The Iowa delegation plans to continue traveling through China and meeting with business and government leaders through early next week. Planning for the trip began last fall. China is the world’s biggest soybean importer, while Iowa is the top soy-producing state in the U.S.