Nebraska plays host to international diplomacy as the Czech Ambassador to the United States visits.
Ambassador Petr Gandalovic, a guest of Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, has been discussing a proposed trade agreement between Europe and the United States during his visit.
“I’m trying to not only learn something, but also to bring a message, together with the Congressman, I think we do not differ in the views on the importance of the trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union,” Gandalovic says.
The United States has been negotiating with the European Union on an agreement to bring down tariffs and eliminate other regulatory barriers to trade. The proposed Trans-Atlantic trade deal could help spur growth in the sluggish European economy and create jobs in the United States.
Though agriculture is a natural trading strength for Nebraska, it might be the thorniest issue in the talks, according to Fortenberry.
“But in terms of manufacturing and financial services there might be tremendous opportunities to better integrate out markets and serve both sides of the Atlantic and provide some counter-leverage to other emerging economies that don’t necessarily share our perspectives and values, such as China,” Fotenberry says.
Gandzlovic also is visiting the Nebraska National Guard. His country and the National Guard of Nebraska have strong ties, training and serving together.
Nebraska also has strong cultural ties with the Czech Republic and Gandalovic will mix business with pleasure tonight as he visits Prague, Nebraska which shares the name of the Czech capital city due to the large number of descendants who live in the area.
“We are very happy that the Czech community there maintains its traditions. They are proud of the Czech descent,” Gandalovic says.
Fortenberry says that makes the visit special for Gandalovic.
“There’s also an important tie here, given Nebraska’s culture. Many people in Nebraska trace their ancestry back to the Czech Republic area, Czechoslovakia if you will, or even further back than that,” Gandalovic says. “So, there are all types of reasons here to welcome the ambassador and we’re just really, really happy that he’s come.”