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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts Announces European Union As First Trade Mission

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the first international trade mission of his administration will be to the European Union (EU) and will include visits to Italy, Belgium, and Denmark. The Governor and delegates will be in the EU June 7th-15th.

“Expanding the number of trade missions is a priority of my administration,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “Taking Nebraska agriculture and businesses on the road is important to growing Nebraska for the next generation and ensuring that our economy stays strong. Cultivating trade relationships in a global economy is a key part of achieving these goals. This mission to Europe will help strengthen existing relationships and build new ones.”

The Governor said he chose the EU as his first overseas mission because there are opportunities on a number of different fronts, including marketing Nebraska agriculture and food products, inviting EU food processing and bioscience companies to consider Nebraska locations, and sharing Nebraska’s agriculture story during a critical time in international trade policy development.

The Governor made the trade mission announcement today at the Emerging Ethanol Issues Forum in Omaha, where he called attention to the synergies between Nebraska and the EU by noting the Danish bioscience company Novozymes’ 2011 investment in Nebraska.

“When Novozymes invested $200 million in a Nebraska production facility, benefits to our state were two-fold,” Governor Ricketts said. “This production facility on Cargill’s campus created high-paying jobs in our state. This project provided a boost to Nebraska’s economy and also strengthened our state’s foreign relationships. My intention is that this June trade mission will lead to similar outcomes.”

The trade mission is being jointly organized by the Nebraska Departments of Economic Development and Agriculture. DED will coordinate the Italy and Denmark stops, while NDA will be responsible for the Belgium activities.

“Nebraska has a diverse economy that includes agriculture, manufacturing, biosciences, and the service industry,” said DED Director Brenda Hicks-Sorensen. “We want to highlight Nebraska’s competitiveness as a place to do business and welcome foreign companies in industries that match our strengths.”

“Our stop in Brussels, Belgium, will focus on both trade and trade policy, as negotiations continue on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the European Union,” said Agriculture Director Greg Ibach. “We will host several events to promote Nebraska agricultural goods and business opportunities in the state. Regarding policy, TTIP has the interest of Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses as it stands to significantly improve market access through reducing trade barriers. Our goal is to help our EU partners better understand the practices and technologies Nebraska farmers and ranchers use to produce safe, quality, abundant agricultural goods.” 

Brussels is the headquarters for the governmental offices of the European Union.

While trip details are still being finalized, the Governor is inviting all parties interested in learning more about the trade mission, and possibly participating in the trip, to contact either DED or NDA for more information. For more information, contact Joe Chapuran at DED by calling 402-658-1138 or Stan Garbacz at NDA by calling 402-471-2341.

Nebraska exported roughly $900 million worth of goods to European Union countries in 2014, with agricultural goods constituting about half of that figure. Key general exports include machinery, pharmaceuticals, and medicines. Leading agricultural exports include beef, soybeans and soymeal, and other feeds/fodders.