Governor Ricketts discusses his trade mission trip to China and the Nebraska economy

Posted By: Jason Taylor

LINCOLN, Neb. Governor Pete Ricketts tells chamber members that we have opportunities in Nebraska.

The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce held a luncheon to let Governor Ricketts talk about his trade mission to china and answer questions about the state economy. He recently took a trade mission trip to China to develop relationships and expand opportunities on trade. Ricketts says Nebraska exports over 10 billion dollars in goods and services, much of which is agriculture and is sent out of the U.S.

"So if we’re going to grow jobs and opportunities here at home. We have to do that by figuring out how we can take the things that we grow, the things that we make and market and sell them to people outside of the U.S." Said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts

He adds that by 2050 food production will have to double and much the population growth will be in China. Ricketts says Chinese culture places a high value on meeting trade partners face to face and establishing trust.

"The direct investment by China in Nebraska is quite small in comparison to Japan. But, given the growing size of the Chinese Market, it creates some tremendous opportunity for our folks." Ricketts said

Although China is not included in the Trans Pacific Partnership deal, Ricketts says the TPP or some of the ideas proposed by President Elect Donald Trump will help us trade with other countries around the Pacific.

"They represent a huge opportunity for us to be able to expand our markets to take those tariffs down. And, in some countries like Vietnam our tariff would go to 0." Ricketts said

Within Nebraska though Ricketts says the biggest issue will be the budget shortfall this current fiscal year and the next.

"That means we’re going to have to make tough decisions about where we will be prioritizing our money. For example we know we’re going to have to continue to invest in corrections. And, so that means we’re going to have to make tough decisions about where we are going every place else." Ricketts said

Ricketts says education and Medicaid make up a large portion of our budget and it’s too tough to change in the middle of the fiscal year.