BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Former Iowa Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad flew into Fort Madison Tuesday for a quick campaign stop.
Branstad spent just over three years in China and said it was the longest time he’d ever been away from Iowa.
“First of all, I’m gonna say I’m delighted to be back in Iowa,” Branstad said with a chuckle.
He said it was challenging time to be ambassador to China. China is the biggest economic competitor to the United States and Branstad said President Donald Trump has been successful at creating a more level playing field with the second largest economy in the world.
He said one of the biggest issues was getting fairness and reciprocity in trade and Trump did things the U.S. hasn’t been successful at in the past three decades.
“That was a long, hard battle. President Trump had the courage to do something that past presidents haven’t done in last 20 to 30 years and that’s insist that we be treated fairly and have a trade agreement to open opportunities for America in terms of exports of agriculture products.
He said China has made record purchases of corn, soybeans, pork, beef and chicken, and it’s made a difference in prices U.S. farmers get.
He said there has also been progress in protecting intellectual property rights, and China opening their market to American companies in the financial services industry.
Fentanyl was also an issue tackled in negotiations with the Chinese during Branstad’s term. He said Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to make fentanyl a controlled substance, which he did in May 2019. Branstad said that helped stem the flow of that drug to the U.S.
Branstad also made pitches for Trump, Sen. Joni Ernst, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks candidate for U.S. Representative (Iowa-2nd District) and Iowa legislature candidates.
“We cannot afford to have the Democratic platform of the Green New Deal, socialism, and huge tax increases, which would stifle the economic growth our country is experiencing,” said the 73-year-old Leland, Iowa native.
Branstad produced a COVID-19 economic impact flyer put together by the Council of State Governments, a non-partisan organization that put together a flyer on the COVID-19 fiscal impact to states.
He said Iowa was ranked as one of two states with low risk and high resiliency along with Utah. However, Iowa continues to be labeled a coronavirus hotspot by the White House.
He also said he was proud of the work Reynolds has done leading the state through the pandemic.
“She was a real soul mate of mine and as Lt. Governor she was a full partner. And I really believe she’s improved on everything I taught her.”