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Expanding Nebraska exports

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dear Fellow Nebraskans:

I'm pleased to announce my plans to lead a delegation to China July 28 through Aug. 3. This trade mission will include stops in Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai, China. It will mark the eleventh trade mission of my administration.

China is a growing export market for Nebraska and it is important that we continue to explore new business opportunities. On this trade mission, we hope to generate new markets for many Nebraska products and our hope is to attract Chinese companies who want to expand into the American market, especially those interested in doing business in Nebraska

It is evident that China is an important trading partner for our state. As Nebraska's fourth largest trading partner, China is one of the state's fastest growing markets. Nebraska exports to China have more than doubled during the past five years, with a 36% increase in 2011. Combined exports to China totaled more than $380 million last year, up from nearly $279 million in 2010.

I also want to note that Hong Kong is our sixth largest agricultural trade partner, and Taiwan is our seventh largest. As our exports to Asian countries increase, we want to continue fostering relationships with key importers and government officials.

Trade is becoming an increasingly important topic for our Nebraska businesses and agriculture economy. Nebraska has seen tremendous growth in its exports in recent years. Total exports totaled $7.5 billion in 2011, representing a 31% increase from 2010, and a 19.4% increase from 2009.

Our leading trade partners in 2011 were Canada and Mexico, followed by Japan, China, and South Korea. Of the top five, the percent of export growth between 2009 and 2011 was largest for China and South Korea. China's annual growth was 34.8% during that time period, while South Korea's was 52.2%.

There is potential for even more growth in both these markets. That is why the Nebraska Department of Agriculture has been working to cultivate relationships there. For example, in China last year, Nebraska Department of Agriculture and representatives from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln conducted a workshop with Chinese food industry leaders to help them understand the nutritional value of incorporating dry edible beans in common Chinese food products.

In 2010, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Nebraska Beef Council, visited the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute in Hong Kong, a teaching facility for Hong Kong and mainland China chefs. The Institute is using Nebraska beef in its training classes as a way to familiarize future chefs with Nebraska beef and encourage its usage in their future employment.

We are in the early stages of developing relationships in South Korea, but there is great opportunity for growth with the passage last year of the Korean Free Trade Agreement.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Office of International Trade and Investment, works with existing businesses to expand their international marketing efforts as well as foster a business climate conducive to recruiting and supporting international business investment in the state. In 2010, Nebraska products were sold to approximately 180 foreign countries, accounting for over $5.8 billion in export sales, and increase of 60% over the past five years. There were 30,700 export-supported jobs linked to manufacturing and those jobs represented 3.8% of the state's private sector employment.

Approximately 50% of Nebraska's exports are agriculture-related products including corn, combines, soybeans, beef, pork, sprayers, hides and skins, veterinary medicine, and soybean meal. In 2011, this represented about $3.8 billion.

I am a strong supporter of expanded trade. Continued interest in exploring trade opportunities with other countries is critical in helping Nebraska expand into new international markets.

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Gov. Dave Heineman
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