When it comes to international trade and the state of Iowa, creating relationships with people of different countries is one of the first steps.
To represent Iowa, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds has traveled to China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Germany. In February, she visited Vietnam and the Philippines.
Reynolds shared her experiences as the keynote speaker during the South Central Iowa Area Partnership Regional International Trade Seminar April 19 at Clarke County Fairgrounds events center.
“As our economy is constantly evolving and growing, businesses must now compete in today’s knowledge-based global economy in order to be successful,” Reynolds said.
In 2012, Iowa companies exported to 187 countries. The state exported more than $14.6 billion in manufactured and value-added goods to other countries.
Iowa’s top five international markets include Canada, Mexico, Japan, China and Germany.
Reynolds’ most recent visit to Vietnam and the Philippines was coordinated by Iowa Economic Development Authority. She said Sukup Manufacturing attended the international trade visit.
Iowa and China
Reynolds also discussed the relationship between Iowa and China.
Gov. Terry Branstad recently went on a trade mission to China and had the opportunity to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was the country’s former vice president, to discuss potential economic partnerships with Iowa, as well as direct investment into the state.
Xi became the president of China March 14.
This is the governor’s fifth face-to-face meeting with Xi. Their relationship first began in 1985.
“During Xi’s first, visit he saw firsthand that Iowans are sincere, hardworking people who take pride in their work,” Reynolds said, “and he has never forgotten his trip to Iowa, and really has a great affinity for the state of Iowa and the people in it.”
Last year, Branstad and Reynolds hosted a state dinner for Xi.
According to Reynolds, Xi said coming to Iowa is like “coming home.” His impression of the country came from meeting Iowans, who symbolize the country as a whole.
Reynolds said it’s important to remember international trade is “a two-way street” between countries.
She gave the example of CJ BIO America, a South Korean-based company that is building a plant and training workers to be a partner with Cargill in Fort Dodge.
If a company is looking to market its business worldwide, Reynolds recommended contacting the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s international trade office.
“We truly believe that Iowa is poised for significant success and economic growth,” she said.