Gov. Terry Branstad announced last week he accepted an invitation from Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to visit to China from May 29th through June 5th. This trip will allow the state to promote more trade opportunities with China.
“The governor’s trip in China is so important for our company’s future. We have nine research-related locations and three production locations across China in its corn-growing area. It’s definitely important,” said Sharyl Sauer, senior communication manager, Pioneer Hi-Bred in Des Moines.
China is the largest buyer of U.S. agricultural products with $14.7 billion in 2011. Improved income and living condition in China has driven demand higher and higher for U.S. agricultural products like corn, soybeans, pork, chicken and beef.
China’s high consumption and limited land for crop production is leaving Iowa with great opportunities for agri-economy. “Iowa has ten million acres of soybean area, and half of soybean is exported over the world. China accounts for nearly two thirds,” said Dustin Vande Hoef, communication director of the Iowa Department of Agriculture.
In addition to farm products, as China’s middle class grows, the need for infrastructure, retirement plans, food, and nutrients has also been surging. Principal Financial Group, which provides global financial services, has a high expectation on getting a piece of China’s retirement market. Since 401k retirement plans in China are just in the beginning stages, it allows Principal a space to imagine the large opportunities China, with its 1.4 billion people, can offer.
In this context, Governor Branstad’s visit has been considered as a continuation of the long-standing friendship with China since Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit in 1985 and in February of this year.
Branstad will visit various places, including Iowa’s sister state of Hebei Province and the Great Wall of China.