Gov. Ricketts meets with Mexican trade delegates - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Gov. Ricketts meets with Mexican trade delegates

Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News

Trade with Mexico is incredibly important to Nebraska, said Governor Pete Ricketts Tuesday. 

This was the message during a special meeting with Ricketts, Mexican trade delegates and representatives from Nebraska agriculture groups. 

The goal of this meeting was to strengthen this relationship and ease concerns about possible changes to NAFTA, the North American Trade Agreement. 

Recently, President Donald Trump announced goals to make changes to NAFTA, the trade agreement that allows the United States to trade goods with Mexico and Canada tax free. 

One of Trump's goals is to change this, to make tax some goods.

If corn from Nebraska was taxed, Mexican trade delegate Felipe Besante said it would be a deal breaker. 

In fact, last week Mexican trade officials were in Brazil looking into developing trade agreements with them, instead of with the United States, he said. 

But Brazil doesn't have the infrastructure needed to go through with the trades, so Besante said they will continue to develop their relationship with the United States, but they hope changes to NAFTA don't impact this decision. 

"We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the states. Mexico is okay and Mexico and the states will always be friends," Besante said.

Taxing corn and other grain exports would impact Nebraska farmers, Ricketts said. 

"NAFTA itself has been tweaked over the course of the years," Ricketts said. "I think what you'd hear, sort of from my standpoint as the state of Nebraska is that we want to make sure our producers have the opportunity to sell their products overseas." 

Nebraska farmers provide a lot of corn to Mexico. 

Ricketts said one out of every ten acres of corn planted is exported to the U.S.'s southern neighbor. This adds up to 287 million dollars and supports 34,000 jobs in the U.S. 

Nebraska agriculture representatives don't believe the changes to NAFTA will be that extreme, not to the agriculture industry, anyway. Though Ricketts said modernization and small tweaks are needed. 

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