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    Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, left, and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad raise their glasses at the beginning of a formal dinner in the rotunda at the Iowa Statehouse, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa.

    US Senate Committee Approves Nomination of Xi's Friend as US Envoy to China

    © AP Photo / The Des Moines Register, Andrea Melendez
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    The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on Tuesday to approve President Donald Trump's nominee, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, as US Ambassador to China.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The full Senate now needs to vote on Branstad's confirmation.

    Xi Jinping reportedly struck a friendship with Branstad during the first visit to Iowa in 1985, back when he was a low-ranking Chinese official, and the US governor helped arrange the second visit in 2012.

    In 2012, Branstad referred to Xi as "very outgoing and very personable" and called the president's personal remarks at the state dinner in Des Moines "very sincere and very genuine."

    According to the US-China Business Council, in 2015 China was Iowa's second biggest export market after Canada. The US state is mainly exporting crops, machinery, beverages, tobacco, chemicals and electronics as well as services including travel, royalties and equipment maintenance.

    Iowa exported $1.4 billion worth of crops to China in 2015, while the overall China exports profit totaled $2.3 billion.


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