By Governor Pete Ricketts
May 27, 2016
The Governor’s official photo is available here.
With over 95 percent of the world’s population living outside the borders of the United States, growing overseas trade is one of the best ways we can grow Nebraska. Last year, I led two overseas trade missions—one to the European Union and one to Asia, including Japan and China—to reach potential customers for Nebraska’s exports. These were successful missions which helped to strengthen trade relationships with several countries. Companies we met with during those trips have announced new projects, and are growing their investment in Nebraska.
To continue to build on our relationships, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) announced a few days ago that we would be leading a trade mission to China this fall. From November 9th through the 15th, we will meet with investors and host events in Xi’an, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to strengthen Nebraska’s relationships with our state’s fourth largest trading partner.
DED and NDA worked with me to build the itinerary for the fall trade mission. During the trip, my agencies and trade mission members will join me in participating in the 23rd China Yangling Agricultural Hi-Tech Fair while in Yangling. Yangling is located in Shaanxi Province just outside the city of Xi’an. The fair offers roughly 1.7 million square feet of exhibition space and is expected to draw 1.6 million visitors over five days, making it China’s premier agricultural fair.
Shanghai is one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas with a population of 24 million. It is also a leading international business center, consumer market, and key entry port into China. That’s why Nebraska established a trade office in Shanghai in 2013 to help our businesses make key connections and work with Chinese companies seeking opportunities in the U.S. and globally. The trade office will play a pivotal part with planning and facilitating the trade delegation’s visit.
Our final stop on the trade mission will be Hong Kong, one of the largest importers of Nebraska beef and a key market for other Nebraska products. The city also is an important gateway for business throughout East Asia. In 2015, Hong Kong by itself was Nebraska’s sixth largest export market, accounting for $234 million in goods purchased from our state with approximately 80 percent being exported food products. Since beef is Nebraska’s number one commodity, this visit to Hong Kong is a great opportunity to build on our success in this market.
China’s growing economy offers nearly boundless opportunities for Nebraska ag producers, manufacturers, and other businesses. This trade mission will help Nebraska businesses build on our existing relationships. It will also give us an opportunity to advocate for expanding and opening up new markets. While Hong Kong imports Nebraska beef, China still prohibits the purchase of beef products from the United States. On this trip, I will continue to advocate for reopening the beef trade between China and the United States, so Nebraska’s ranchers and beef industry have even more opportunities to market and sell their beef products.
Nebraska businesses and ag producers who do business in China, or those that are hoping to enter this market, should contact DED or NDA to express their interest in joining the trade mission. Space is limited. Company officials interested in participating in the trade mission should contact Cobus Block at 402-480-5806 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Stan Garbacz at 402-471-2341 or email@example.com to express their interest soon.