Gov. Pete Ricketts is making the pitch for Nebraska during a trade mission to Europe.
Ricketts has visited with a number of businesses in Italy, pushing Nebraska as a great place to expand.
“But I was struck by how many Italian companies are really looking to expand their operations outside of Europe and they’re looking at the United States as a great market for them,” Ricketts tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call from Europe.
Ricketts has been joined on the trade mission by state Agriculture Director Greg Ibach and Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Brenda Hicks-Sorensen.
The delegation visited the World Expo in Milan, Italy. The group talked with executives of CNH Industrial, a multinational company headquartered in Italy, which has a facility in Grand Island.
Nebraska officials with the Secretary General and Vice President of Coldiretti, an Italian farmer and food processor association, which hosted a luncheon for the delegation.
On Wednesday, the Nebraska delegation hosted a promotional event in Bologna, Italy, talking with food and food processing companies.
Ricketts says the group has talked with food processors, agri-businesses, and energy companies.
The group has moved on to Brussels, Belgium where they will speak with members of the European Union.
“Well, we don’t have any plans to specifically sign anything on this trip,” Ricketts says. “It really is about reinforcing the relationships that we have with existing customers, like Inalca, and then looking to develop relationships in the same area; building upon that relationship and trying to get companies to expand.”
Inalca is one of the largest purchasers of Nebraska beef in the European Union.
The mission moves to next to Denmark.
According to state officials, Nebraska exported more than $67.5 million in beef and beef products in 2010, but reached more than $136.7 million in 2014.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]