January 05, 2017

Branstad’s nomination shines spotlight on Iowa internationalism

By Harry Krejsa

The significance of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s nomination to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China reaches well beyond his much-reported friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. While Branstad’s relationship with Xi will be an asset, so will his experience managing Iowa’s growing integration with the markets and communities beyond America’s borders. From jobs to research to education, Iowa has benefited tremendously from its increasing global engagement — and it would be a tragedy for Iowans to give in to the isolationist sentiment now threatening to subvert our politics.

While studying abroad years ago in Nanjing, I was frequently asked which state I was from. When I replied “Iowa,” a surprising number of my Chinese classmates nodded in recognition. Agriculture and food security are critical concerns to fast-growing countries like China, and the influence of Iowa’s farms and factories reaches across the globe in ways not always apparent from my hometown of Indianola.

Indeed, it isn’t just coastal states with massive port cities that benefit from international engagement and trade. Last year, the Hawkeye State sold $13 billion in exports abroad, supporting more than 100,000 jobs and 2,800 small- and medium-sized businesses.

Read the full article at The Des Moines Register.

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