In a news release from Governor Ricketts:
This week, I am leading a trade mission to Canada. The importance of Canada as a trading partner that is helping grow Nebraska cannot be understated. Canada is Nebraska’s largest export market and fourth largest agriculture export market. In 2016, total agricultural exports from Nebraska to Canada equaled an estimated $468 million out of a total agriculture export value of $5.4 billion. In addition to our important trade relationship, Nebraska and Canada are both celebrating our 150th birthdays this year, a special occasion which we will be highlighting along the way!
Our historic partnership is why I chose to lead what is quite possibly the first-ever, Governor–led Nebraska trade mission to Canada. Why travel to Canada when Nebraska already has such a great relationship? We cannot take our best customers for granted. Appreciation is one of the most important aspects of any partnership, so we are taking the time to thank our largest export market for their business while solidifying our current relationships with government officials and investors. This mission can also help open new doors and new opportunities for Nebraska ag producers and businesses looking to grow.
The timing of this trade mission is critical, as negotiations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico are set to begin on the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has been pivotal to growing Nebraska agriculture, our state’s number one industry. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, exports from Nebraska to free-trade agreement markets grew 104 percent from 2005 to 2015, with growth in NAFTA trade far outpacing our trade with other partners. As NAFTA negotiations have begun, Nebraska ag producers and I have been working together to showcase how critical this agreement is to the future of the farm families who help grow our state.
This week, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Economic Development, as well as ag producers will be joining the mission. During our visit we will share the story of Nebraska and the high quality commodities produced by our farm and ranch families with current and potential investors.
While in Canada, we will sit down for a roundtable discussion with the United States Consul General for Toronto, as well as a reception and meal featuring Nebraska beef that will be hosted by the Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs. Nebraska beef products are Nebraska’s number one agricultural export to Canada, totaling $138.2 million in 2015.