Chinese enterprises encouraged to invest in US Midwest

Updated: 2012-02-17 07:53

By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)

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DES MOINES, Iowa - Visiting Vice-President Xi Jinping encouraged more Chinese companies to invest in Iowa and the US Midwest and to help create local jobs.

At a welcome dinner in the state capital on Wednesday, he also promoted exchanges between local governments in China and the US, saying they are the foundation of relations.

It is the second time the Chinese leader has visited the American heartland. In 1985, then a county official in China's Hebei province, Xi led a delegation to Iowa to learn advanced agricultural technology.

About 650 guests attended the dinner, including US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, US Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Impressed with advanced local industries as well as hospitable people, Xi said he hoped that Iowa could continue to engage in trade and economic relations with China.

"China will actively encourage our enterprises to make investments in Iowa and contribute to local jobs," he said.

He also said that China would like to work with other states in the Midwest to increase exchanges in many areas, such as industry, services and emerging sectors.

In Xi's speech, he recalled his fond memories of the 1985 trip.

"It was my first visit to the United States and also the first direct contact with American people," he said.

From that encounter he found the US people, just like the people of China, are "honest, warm-hearted, hardworking and friendly".

"There is a tremendous reservoir of goodwill between the two peoples and we each take great interest in the other," he said.

During Xi's five-day trip to the US, from Feb 13 to 17, he wanted to engage with a broad cross-section of American society to help deepen the friendship between Chinese and American people.

In 1985, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad met with Xi in his office at the state capital. Now, the 65-year-old governor, still in charge of the state after he returned to the position in 2001, hosted the Chinese leader again.

"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," the governor said during the welcome speech.

"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."

The Midwest state, which calls itself the "food capital of the world", is located in the center of the corn belt. It ranks first nationally in corn, soybean, hog, egg and ethanol production, according to the Iowa Farm Bureau.

It also has a strong financial and insurance base with more than 6,000 firms, including Nationwide Group, ING, MetLife, Principal Financial Group and Wells Fargo.

The close ties with China have brought the state many benefits in the past three decades.

China was the state's fourth largest market in 2010 with $627 million in trade volume, according to the US Global Leadership Coalition.

Iowa's exports to China have increased about 13-fold from 2000 to 2010, according to the US-China Business Council. The main exports include crop production, machinery and processed foods.

Several local agriculture technology companies and manufacturers have also already invested in China.

China Daily

(China Daily 02/17/2012 page2)