Posted Feb. 21, 2012
The man expected to become the next president of China made a return visit to Iowa last week to renew old friendships made in a visit to the state in the 1980s and to discuss trade.
Vice President Xi Jinping fit Iowa into a five-day trip to the U.S. at the invitation of Gov. Terry Branstad. The pair had met 27 years ago during Branstad’s first term as governor.
Several hundred people attended a state dinner for Xi at the Iowa Capitol Wednesday evening and the Iowa Pork Producers Association was an active participant in the festivities. IPPA co-sponsored the dinner along with the Iowa Corn and Soybean associations. One of the featured menu items was Eden Farms’ bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin that was said to be excellent.
Several IPPA producer leaders joined key Iowa business and industry leaders, state legislators, visiting government officials and more than 200 visiting Chinese at the formal dinner.
Branstad has worked to strengthen ties with China and promote Iowa’s agribusiness interests and agriculture was a central focus of many of the discussions with Xi and Hebei Province officials. Since Xi first visited Iowa in 1985, Iowa’s agricultural exports to China have increased by around 1,300 percent, according to Branstad.
As part of Xi’s visit to Iowa, the first ever U.S.-China agricultural symposium was held Feb. 16 at the World Food Prize headquarters in Des Moines. Xi said China and the United States should strengthen cooperation in trade and food security and further exchanges in technology and information. Several Iowa pork producers also attended the symposium.