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State Ag Director says Nebraska will keep pushing for more trade opportunities

September 22, 2018

LINCOLN - State Agriculture Director Steve Wellman says Nebraska will keep pushing for trade opportunities no matter what might or might not happen in Washington.

Trade disputes and even all-out trade wars seem to dominate headlines about Washington, D. C.

President Donald Trump has taken a hard stance on trade deals, calling for NAFTA to either be scrapped or modernized. The Trump Administration has reached a new trade agreement with Mexico and is in negotiations with Canada. Whether those talks result in a bilateral agreement with Canada or a new NAFTA remains to be seen.

The United States plans to impose levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods with China threatening to increase tariffs on $60 billion worth of United States products entering the Chinese marketplace.

Wellman says Nebraska farm receipts in 2016 totaled more than $21.5 billion. Approximately 30% of that total, $6.4 billion, came from exports.

Wellman says even as Washington engages in trade disputes, Nebraska officials take trade trips in an effort to increase sales to other countries.

“Due to increasing wealth in out exporting countries, the demand for meat, milk, and poultry is expected to increase by 50% in the next 15 years,” Wellman tells reporters at a news conference. “According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the Economic Research Service, a 10% increase in agricultural exports would create over 1,000 jobs in the state of Nebraska.”

State officials are hosting foreign agricultural attaches from 16 countries this week.

Wellman says foreign countries want what Nebraska farmers and ranchers produce. He says the state must be prepared to meet that opportunity.

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