AMES, Iowa — The U.S Embassy confirmed on Monday that the former Iowa governor and current U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad is leaving his post in China.
Local political experts don’t believe this will have much impact on the relationship between China and the U.S.
“The impact is likely to be minimal because the ambassadors aren’t the ones really making decisions there. He’s there to represent the U.S. interest not to make decisions,” said Iowa State University political science professor Jonathan Hassid.
In a tweet last night, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Branstad for his three years of service, stating that the former governor contributed to “rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results oriented, reciprocal and fair.”
While working in Beijing, Branstad welcomed back American beef to the Chinese market after a 14-year ban.
At the end of last year, the two countries announced a trade deal that would cut U.S tariffs in exchange for China purchasing more farm products from the U.S. However, it is reported that China has been lagging behind on those obligations.
“China is way behind on their commitments. They promised all of this stuff but they haven’t really delivered it. I don’t think that having Ambassador Branstad there or not will make a huge difference in terms of China’s foreign purchases,” Hassid said. “So it might matter a little bit for Iowa farmers, but there are bigger issues driving this relationship.”
Branstad’s departure leaves the U.S. mission in Beijing without an official ambassador.
China’s foreign ministry said it had not received any notification that Branstad was leaving.
It is rumored that the longest-serving Iowa governor will return home to campaign for President Donald Trump.