Gov. Pete Ricketts has announced he has formed a group to help promote Nebraska trade with other countries
“Today, we are announcing the Governor’s Council on International Relations to be able to help coordinate and leverage all the resources that all these organizations have overseas,” Ricketts said during a news conference prior to the 2nd Annual Governor’s Summit on Economic Development at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel.
The council has a broad membership, ranging from groups such as the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce to the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.
The council will help develop long-term trade strategies, support partnerships with foreign companies, and leverage Nebraska resources to expand current foreign investments in the state and explore new opportunities.
Ricketts says the group will work directly with state Economic Development Director Courtney Dentlinger and state Agriculture Director Greg Ibach on deals the state is pursuing.
“When other organizations have efforts going on and we can help support that, we want to be able to do that, too,” Ricketts said.
Nebraska Corngrowers Association Vice President, Dan Nerud of Dorchester, has high hopes the group can help expand trade. He said as a family farmer he sees the effort as an attempt to expand markets to preserve Nebraska for the next generation.
“I believe this will help expand and keep businesses here, not only grow but keep them here, expand more and give more for our children and grandchildren,” Nerud said.
In 2015, Nebraska exported $6.4 billion worth of agricultural goods, accounting for a fourth of all agricultural cash receipts in the state.
University of Nebraska – Lincoln Chancellor, Ronnie Green, said coordination is essential when the university attempts to attract foreign investment to Innovation Campus.
“One of the challenges that we have in recruiting international partners is they want to know when they come here that there’s a unified effort of the place,” according to Green. “So it’s not just the university. That it’s the state, it’s the citizenry of the state, it’s a platform of economic development that is beyond us.”
Participating groups and individuals include:
· Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce
· Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
· Midwest International Trade Association
· Nebraska Cattlemen
· Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
· Nebraska Corn Growers Association
· Nebraska Department of Agriculture
· Nebraska Department of Economic Development
· Nebraska Department of Education
· Nebraska Diplomats
· Nebraska District Export Council
· Nebraska Ethanol Board
· Nebraska Farm Bureau
· Nebraska Pork Producers
· Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale
· Nebraska Soybean Board
· Nebraska Tourism Commission
· University of Nebraska
· U.S. Commercial Service – Omaha
The governor’s office says additional individuals and groups have been invited to participate, and will be announced at a later date.