Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping Visits Iowa

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to become the president of China this year, visited Iowa on Wednesday and Thursday as part of his trip to the United States.  Prior to stopping in Iowa, the vice president met with President Obama in Washington, D.C.

It has been well reported that this is a return trip for Vice President Xi.  In 1985, the vice president was a Hebei Province party official and the director of the Feed Association of Shi jiazhuang Prefecture.   Like his previous trip, the vice president visited the city of Muscatine.  At a tea reception with Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds and local Muscatine officials and residents,  the Vice President said “It’s my second visit to Muscatine after a hiatus of 27 years from my last visit, and all the memories of my being here are now coming back. Coming here is really like coming back to home. You can’t even imagine what a deep impression I had from my visit 27 years ago to Muscatine, because you were the first group of Americans that I came into contact with. My impression of the country came from you. For me, you are America.”

Xi and Branstd

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad at Wednesday’s formal dinner at the state capitol. (Des Moines Register Media Pool Photo)

The Vice President then traveled to Des Moines for a formal welcome dinner at the state capitol which was attended by over 650 people including AAI CEO, Jeff Schnell.  In his toast prior to the “Taste of Iowa” dinner that featured Iowa cuisine and beverages from start to finish, Governor Branstad said, “We are proud of our mutually beneficial trading partnerships with China and Iowa farmers are proud to harvest safe and reliable agricultural products for use by the people of China.  We hope to build-upon these partnerships in related areas where Iowa leads the world, such as biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, food processing, and financial services.”

While not attended by Xi, a delegation of Chinese executives and government officials agreed to buy $4.31 billion worth of U.S. soybeans in Des Moines on Wednesday.  According to an Associated Press report, with additional soybean contracts that will be signed later this week in Los Angeles, the deals make up the largest soybean commitment ever made during one trip.  U.S. companies involved include Cargill, ADM and Ag Processing Inc., a farmer-owned cooperative and Iowa’s largest soybean processor.

On Thursday, the vice president will attend the USDA’s U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium at the World Food Prize headquarters in Des Moines and visit a Kimberly Farm in Maxwell before departing for Los Angeles.