DES MOINES – At his weekly press conference today, Gov. Terry Branstad announced he will lead a trade mission to China and Japan in mid-November. Gov. Branstad was joined by President of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Al Wulfekuhle and Executive Director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council Chris Freland.
In 2015, Iowa companies exported $1.2 billion in manufactured and value-added goods to China and $1.1 billion to Japan. China is Iowa’s third largest export destination, while Japan is the fourth largest. In addition, Japan is Iowa’s leading export market for pork and beef products. Iowa companies exported $564 million in meat products to Japan in 2015.
“This mission marks my fourth visit to China and third to Japan since 2011 and is a testament to my long-standing commitment to strengthening economic ties with these important export markets for the state,” said Governor Branstad. “Trade missions like this one allow Iowa companies to expand their markets outside of the U.S. and ultimately creates more jobs and strengthens our economy.”
The mission is comprised of stops in Beijing and Hebei (Iowa’s sister state) in China while Tokyo is the primary destination in Japan. In China, Governor Branstad is slated to speak at China’s Food Security and Food Safety Strategy Summit and the International Meat Conference. Additional mission highlights include a potential meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, attending a reception at U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy’s residence and meetings with investment or trade prospects.
“This trade mission is part of IEDA’s ongoing strategy to build on Iowa’s success in exporting to China and Japan,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham. “These markets are important to our agricultural commodities and with the recent announcement that China plans to lift the 13-year ban on beef imports from the U.S., Iowa is poised to benefit from renewing our relationships in this industry.”
Mission participants include Iowa companies involved in meat processing and representatives from the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Iowa Soybean Association. Iowa companies will participate in meetings specific to their market entry or expansion needs. IEDA is working with the state’s China contract representatives and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to identify trade and investment prospects for the delegation.
The IEDA’s International Trade Office markets Iowa products and services, educates Iowa businesses on exporting and assists global companies wishing to establish or expand operations in Iowa.