Lt. Governor Mike Foley is in Japan on a trade mission which comes just before Nebraska hosts a major conference with Japanese business executives.
Foley is taking part in a National Governors Association trade mission to Japan, featuring three other states.
In an interview with the Nebraska Radio Network prior to leaving, Foley recalled a reception Nebraska hosted in Japan two years ago at the Imperial Hotel for 700 guests.
“They can see and taste the quality of our beef and pork contrasted with other products they can get from other parts of the world, plus products they can produce locally in their own economy and they know the difference and they know the quality and they want more and they want to buy a lot,” Foley said.
The international division of the NGA sponsors various overseas trips. This trip includes Foley and the governors of Kentucky, Nevada, and New Mexico.
Foley said that the Japanese culture highly values personal relationships and Nebraska needs to seize any opportunity to visit the country and meet face-to-face with Japanese officials and business executives.
He does expect trade issues to be discussed and sees some good arising out of the sometimes-tense trade negotiations spark by President Donald Trump’s policies.
“So, we’re hopeful that President Trump has placed us on a good path,” Foley said. “It looks a little rocky right now, but we think long-term this will bode very well for our producers, so we can sell more to the international markets, particularly to the Japanese, because it’s such a lucrative market to sell in to.”
Japan is the top trade partner for Nebraska outside Mexico and Canada. Japan not only imports much Nebraska agricultural goods, it invests heavily in Nebraska.
Foley’s trip to Japan comes just prior to a major Japanese conference being hosted by Nebraska. The 50th annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference begins September 9th in Omaha and runs through the 11th. The conference is expected to attract 400 business executives from both the Midwest and Japan.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]