A delegation from Nebraska is on a trade mission to two Asian nations that already have strong ties to the state.
Lt. Governor Lavon Heidemann says there’s a reason the delegation he’s leading is traveling to Taiwan and Japan.
“It’s a region that there are a lot of opportunities. It’s a growing region. It’s a developing region. And we as a state need to take advantage of that,” Heidemann tells Nebraska Radio Network.
In Taiwan, the delegation will follow up a trade agreement signed in 2010; a $450 million trade agreement for corn, soybeans and wheat.
In Japan, the delegation will visit Nebraska Center-Japan, the state’s first foreign trade office, opened in 2006.
Heidemann says that while modern technology provides a wide range of communication tools, a personal visit still means a lot.
“There’s nothing like person-to-person to get things started. And, then, I think from there you can start using technology to figure out where you are at and where you want to go,” Heidemann says.
State Agriculture Director Greg Ibach and State Economic Development Director Catherine Lang are with Heidemann on the trip.
While in Tokyo, Heidemann will participate in the annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference that involves nine Midwestern states and several major Japanese businesses. The delegation will also visit Nebraska Center-Japan, the state’s first foreign trade office which opened in 2006. The center had to relocate after being struck by the tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan in 2011.
Japan ranks as Nebraska’s fourth largest trading partner, with $468 million in exports last year. Japanese businesses have invested more in Nebraska than businesses from any other country, investing more than $4.4 billion in the state since 2010.
Taiwan ranks as the state’s 13th largest export market with $94 million in exports last year. In 2012, it ranked as the state’s 10th largest agricultural export market.
The trade mission wraps up on the 13th.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]