Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad has accepted an offer by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Trump’s ambassador to China. Branstad was chosen for his longstanding relationship with China which dates to 1985 when Branstad hosted a delegation from China visiting Iowa to learn about agricultural techniques. A Trump transition team spokesperson said Branstad brings a “great grasp” on trade and agriculture issues and has a “tremendous understanding” of China and its people.
A former aide to Branstad called the governor a “known commodity” in China. He is the longest-serving governor in American history, having served four terms in the office from 1983 to 1999 and another term and a half since 2011. He met with Trump earlier this week and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the post after Trump is inaugurated next month.
American Soybean Association (ASA) President Richard Wilkins expressed the association’s support for the pick, citing the governor’s extensive experience working with China and the importance of the marketplace for U.S. soybean farmers. “ASA enthusiastically supports Gov. Branstad as the next U.S. Ambassador to China. As we have said in the weeks that followed the presidential election, it is extremely important to have voices within the incoming administration that understand and value the huge impact that global trade has on U.S. agriculture and specifically American soybean producers,” he stated. Nowhere is that relationship more significant than in China, a market that demands nearly 60 percent of our soy exports, and over 25 percent of our production overall.”