In Japan, Nebraska governor works to expand trade, investment opportunities

Source: By Barbara Soderlin, Omaha World-Herald • Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Gov. Pete Ricketts is in Japan this week with a delegation of the state’s agriculture and business leaders, seeking to expand trade and investment opportunities. It’s his second trade trip to Japan as governor, following a similar visit in September 2015.

In Tokyo on Monday, Ricketts participated in a conference designed to bolster international relationships with companies that have an interest in growing in the Midwest.

The event highlighted Nebraska’s relationship with a number of foreign companies, Ricketts said, including Omaha-based Tenaska, which employs nearly 300 and specializes in power plant, electric and natural gas development.

Later this week Ricketts and others in the delegation will visit a Japanese government agency that supports efforts by foreign companies interested in doing business in the Japanese market. Total agricultural and manufactured exports from Nebraska to Japan were estimated at $1.13 billion in 2015.

Thursday, the delegation will visit Shizuoka, a sister city of Omaha, to promote investment opportunities. The trade delegation will spend the last two days of the trip in the Kansai region, where Kawasaki and several other Japanese companies with investments and operations in Nebraska are based.

Separately Monday, Ricketts noted Vietnam’s lifting of its nine-month ban on imports of U.S. distillers grains, a byproduct of ethanol production used as livestock feed. The ban came after supplies were contaminated with beetles. Vietnam had been the United States’ third-largest export market for distillers grains.