Gov. Pete Ricketts says Chinese officials are curious, not fearful, about China-United States relations under a Trump administration.
Ricketts, on a trade mission to China, says the presidential election has the attention of many there.
“I’d say the Chinese have been very interested in the election,” Ricketts tells reporters during a conference call. “In fact, we have received a number of congratulations from folks.”
China became a target of Republican Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. Trump often complained about the trade imbalance between the two countries.
Trade between the U.S. and China totals $650 billion annually, but it tilts significantly in favor of China. The U.S. trade deficit with China totaled $365 billion in 2015. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the deficit so far this year through September totals $257 billion.
Trump has also criticized China as a currency manipulator. He has threatened imposing tariffs of as much as 45% on imports from China.
Ricketts says he hasn’t heard any expressions of concern about trade implications when Trump becomes president.
“I would say what I’ve heard is people are wondering what the Trump Administration is going to do,” Ricketts says. “I haven’t heard any Chinese officials in the government express any concerns specifically. They’re just really asking questions.”
Ricketts says China holds great opportunity for Nebraska, both the business and the agricultural sectors.
Chinese state media reports China President Xi Jinping talked with Trump on the phone, congratulating him on his election victory.
The Trump transition team reported the two “established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]