As China’s Vice President Xi Jinping stepped off a plane in the Quad Cities on Wednesday, there’s already an American connection.
“He flew into the USA in a Boeing 747, made in America,” said Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba.
And closer to home, there’s a Quad Cities connection.
“Cobham Industries and Alcoa helped to build that product,” he said.
With a series of bows at Xi’s greeting, Gluba seized the moment. During a once-in-a-lifetime moment with China’s future president, he presented a proposal to bring Chinese business to the area.
“They’re flushed with cash,” he said. “They’ve got to invest somewhere, so why not try to get them to invest in the Quad Cities.”
Mayor Gluba’s offer helps to reinforce China’s role as a trade partner with Iowa. It already adds up to billions of dollars in agriculture exports.
“Coming to Iowa brings back many fond memories,” Xi said through an interpreter in Des Moines.
There’s nostalgia as Xi revisits his 1985 trip, but there’s also big business. The Chinese delegation signed commitments to buy more than $4 billion worth of U.S. soybeans. And at Thursday’s Agriculture Symposium in Des Moines, Xi joined former Iowa Govenor and current Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to strengthen the bond between the nations.
“China attaches great importance to food security,” Xi said. “Give top priority to developing rural areas, agriculture, increasing farmers’ income and insure sufficient food supply for 1.3 billion people.”
Xi’s visit is a rare chance for face-to-face economic development with China. It’s a super power proposal with local possibilities.
For Gluba, it’s all about filling his role as a promoter and cheerleader for Davenport and the Quad Cities.
“You show respect to people, and a little humility pays off,” he concluded. “It’s starting to in some respects already.”
From China to the Quad Cities, making the pitch for success.