Iowa's longest serving governor, Terry Branstad, has been confirmed as ambassador to China by a Senate vote of 82-13.
The Senate on May 18 voted 86-12 to advance Branstad's nomination for a confirmation vote on May 22.
American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Illinois farmer Ron Moore expressed congratulations and support, citing Branstad’s extensive experience working with China and the importance of the market for U.S. soybean farmers.
“We cannot understate the importance of maintaining a good trading relationship with China, along with all of our top exporting countries, and having Gov. Branstad in place will help ensure that agricultural trade remains a top priority between our two countries,” Moore said.
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.
“ASA is hopeful that Gov. 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.
“As the six-term governor of a state with more than $10 billion in annual agricultural exports, Terry Branstad is an ideal person to help facilitate the U.S. beef industry’s return to the Chinese market for the first time in 13-plus year," said Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
"Ambassador Branstad has been a great friend to Iowa cattlemen and the agriculture industry as governor of Iowa," said Mike Cline, Iowa Cattlemen's Association president. "He has shown a great commitment to the growth of beef and other agricultural exports, and we look forward to the work he will do on behalf of all Americans in his new capacity as ambassador to China."
Source: ASA, NCBA