Trade delegates return from China, Thailand
ANKENY (ISA) – Iowa Soybean Association President Dean Coleman, of Humboldt, and his wife, Carol, along with a delegation that included Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, ISA President-elect Mark Jackson, of Rose Hill, ISA chief executive officer Kirk Leeds and Director of Market Development Grant Kimberley, returned last week from an 11-day trade mission to China and Thailand.
The trade mission was particularly timely given China Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit to Iowa in February. While in China, the delegation was warmly received by the vice president at a reception and meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Throughout their visit, the group found Chinese people were aware of Xi’s recent Iowa visit. At numerous meetings with high-ranking officials, the message was repeated of the importance of working as partners to improve food safety, increase food stability and enhance environmental sustainability.
This was Dean Coleman’s third trip to China. He said food security and food stability are top-of-mind issues for the Chinese.
“They need to provide food for a large population and they want to be assured the crop will be there,” Coleman said.
China is the world’s biggest soybean importer, with approximately one in every four rows of U.S. soybeans going to China. Iowa is the U.S.’ leading soy-producing state.
The trade mission also included a visit to Thailand, where the goal was to engage previous customers in face-to-face communication, with hopes to regain market share for Iowa and U.S. soybeans. The Iowa delegation visited a large soybean crushing plant and soybean oil refining facility, and hosted a large, festive reception for past and potential customers.
Coleman said an important message for soybean farmers is that quality matters.
“U.S. farmers need to know that we are held responsible for the quality of soybeans our customers get,” he said. “We need to be conscious of that as we handle soybeans so we are providing a good quality product.”
Reynolds told a Thai audience, “Part of our mission on this trip is to re-introduce Iowa soybeans to you.”
She invited Thai industry leaders to Iowa to “take advantage of the opportunity to visit an Iowa farm and visit an Iowa cooperative, so we can demonstrate to you that Iowa is a leader in soybean quality and can play an important role in your market.”
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