Governor Ricketts with Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard. More photos can be found here.
Governor Pete Ricketts recently returned from leading a delegation on a trade mission to Mexico. The visit marked the Governor’s second trade mission to Mexico in as many years. The purpose of the mission was to meet with government officials and to promote Nebraska as a destination for investment.
“Promoting Nebraska internationally is one of the four pillars to grow Nebraska, and trade missions help us share our story with new customers,” said Governor Ricketts. “Mexico is Nebraska’s second largest trading partner and a critical market for our agricultural products. During this mission, the delegation focused on strengthening our business and trade relationships with public officials, so we can expand our relationship with Mexico.”
The Governor was joined on the trade mission by representatives from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), Nebraska Farm Bureau, and Nebraska-based companies, including Tenaska, Lincoln Industries, Union Pacific, and Werner Enterprises.
“One of the most powerful ways to grow Nebraska is to tell our story. By showing the world what Nebraska has to offer, we can be even better positioned to succeed,” said DED Director Dave Rippe. “This trade mission gave us an excellent opportunity to showcase Nebraska’s business and trade advantages among investors and customers in one of our largest global markets.”
“This trade mission allowed us to continue showcasing Nebraska agricultural products to our neighbors in Mexico – our second largest agricultural export market,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “The United States Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) was completed last year and we urge the US Congress to take swift action to approve the agreement as quickly as possible.”
During the visit, the delegation held scheduled meetings with numerous Mexican business, government, and trade officials to discuss opportunities for strengthening the economic ties between Nebraska and Mexico. Priority objectives ranged from creating new export opportunities for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and businesses; to encouraging Mexican companies to invest in Nebraska; to voicing support for bilateral trade between Mexico and the United States. The delegation also invited senior officials to visit Nebraska this July for the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha.
“It’s all about building relationships. Since we entered NAFTA in the mid-90s, we’ve seen ag trade between Mexico, Canada, and the United States grow sensationally,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson. “Mexico is one of Nebraska’s largest agricultural export markets doing $6.4 billion in agricultural business in 2017. And because of where Nebraska is located geographically and because of the commodities we grow, we’ve been a big beneficiary of our relationship with Mexico. So, the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement, USMCA, is vitally important to protecting those export markets.”
Mexico is Nebraska’s second largest export market. It is currently the largest market for Nebraska corn, wheat, meat, and dairy, and the second largest market for soybeans and sorghum among other products. A number of global Mexican companies also operate in Nebraska. These include companies such as Grupo Bimbo, a baking and snacks industry leader with locations around Nebraska employing over 400 people.
This was Governor Ricketts’ second trade mission to Mexico and seventh international trade mission. Other missions have included Europe, Canada, China, and Japan.
International engagement has been a pillar of Ricketts’ vision for economic growth since taking office. In 2017, he formed the Governor’s Council for International Relations to spearhead Nebraska’s global engagement initiatives. Last year, the Council debuted a five-year plan for international engagement that includes a continued focus on trade missions. The Strategic Plan for International Engagement can be found at opportunity.nebraska.gov/strategicplan.