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Trump Names Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad As Next Ambassador To China

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

As Donald Trump continues his tough talk on trade, he's chosen a pro-trade governor to be the next ambassador to China. Terry Branstad has served six terms as Iowa's governor. He was a steady supporter of Trump throughout the campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TERRY BRANSTAD: The future of our country is at stake. We've got to have new leadership. We've got to have strong leadership. And we need to make America great again, and Donald Trump will do it.

(CHEERING)

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In Terry Branstad, Trump has selected someone with ties to China that go back decades. Branstad and Chinese President Xi Jinping first met in 1985 when she visited Iowa as part of a government exchange program. In 2012, Branstad hosted a dinner for Xi at the Iowa Capitol. And as recently as last month, Branstad was in Beijing on a trade mission. China's foreign ministry today called him an old friend of the Chinese people.

CORNISH: And China has been a friend to Iowa. Last year, Iowa sold $2.3 billion worth of goods to China, much of it soybeans and processed corn products. At a rally in Sioux City two days before the election, Donald Trump hinted at a position for Branstad in his administration.

DONALD TRUMP: I think there's nobody that knows more about trade than him. He's one of the ones, in dealing with China, where you would be our - you would be our prime candidate to take care of China. He has done so well - so well for the people of Iowa. Nobody knows it better. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.