The confirmation comes closely after the United States and China actively joined economic dialogue talks to address agricultural trade, financial services, investment, and energy issues between the two countries in a new economic cooperation with a 100-day action plan. As well as the confirmation of the USTR.
“I want to thank President Trump and Vice-President Pence for nominating me to be the United States Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China,” Branstad said. “I also want to thank Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, and the United States Senate for the confidence they have placed in me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that a boy from a small farm in Leland, Iowa, would one day have the opportunity to represent my country and my state on the world stage, working closely with one of the world’s most influential countries and one of America’s largest trading partners.”
Branstad, Iowa’s longest-serving governor from 1983 to 1999 and then again in 2011 to present, spoke about his agriculture experience during his confirmation hearing.
“If confirmed, I hope to use my unique position as an ‘old friend’ of President Xi and a trusted confidant of President Trump to positively influence the U.S.-China relationship,” he said. “As the governor of Iowa, I saw first-hand the importance of a positive and healthy trade relationship between our two countries. Nearly one out of every two rows of Iowa soybeans is sent to China, as well as $33.5 million in pork in 2016. The importance of trade extends well beyond agriculture, too. Aviation products, manufactured goods, chemicals, electronics, and many other products and services are exported to China daily and help support and sustain the American economy.”
Branstad also spoke about his goal for fair trade between the countries.
“As ambassador, I will continue the work I started while governor to open up the Chinese markets to American businesses of all sorts,” he said. “This will be good for the American people as it will create more jobs, and good for the Chinese people as they will have more access to the best-made products this world has to offer. In keeping with the president’s mission, I am also committed to making sure that the trade relationship between the United States and China puts the American worker first.”
Branstad’s focus on trade and agriculture piques the U.S. ag industry’s interest and hopes for a stronger trade relationship with China.
|Ron Moore, president of ASA.|
“We cannot understate the importance of maintaining a good trading relationship with China, along with all of our top exporting countries, and having Governor Branstad in place will help ensure that agricultural trade remains a top priority between our two countries,” said Ron Moore, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA).
The U.S. soybean sector exported $27 billion in soybean products last year, making it the largest agricultural export. Of that, sales to China comprised more than $14 billion, establishing the market as the most significant for U.S. soy, the ASA said.
“ASA is hopeful that Branstad’s background in agriculture will help the U.S. and China create greater transparency and efficiencies in the biotech approval process and maintain good trade relations,” Moore added.