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Ricketts, Bacon at White House for Ag and Trade Roundtable
Nebraska Ag Connection - 04/13/2018

Governor Pete Ricketts participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by President Donald J. Trump at the White House with members of Nebraska's federal delegation and other governors. During the roundtable, Ricketts urged President Trump to continue to open up new markets for Nebraska's quality agriculture products and to pursue trade strategies that help grow agriculture.

"Nebraskans appreciate the work the President has done to open new markets for Nebraska beef and pork, but there is also uncertainty around the disruption tariffs may cause," said Ricketts. "The President led a great working meeting today on agriculture, trade, and ethanol issues. During the discussion, I urged the President to put a continued focus on expanding markets for agriculture. He listened and expressed a commitment to growing international trade so we can grow opportunities for our farmers and ranchers."

Ricketts was one of three governors in the White House meeting, joining Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and about a dozen members of Congress including Congressman Don Baco, NE-02; Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee's agriculture subcommittee; and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, also attended.

Bacon released the following statement after meeting with Trump about impact of tariffs on Nebraska:

"I told President Trump that our farm prices are significantly down. Our farmers and ranchers in Nebraska cannot take much more and we need to protect our nation's ag economy. It is important that our trade deals promote our state's strong agriculture industry. I also ensured the president's staff knew that tariffs, especially those on ethanol, would have negative impacts on our state. I am optimistic about the possibility of renegotiating TPP and allowing sales of E15 year-round. Overall it was a successful meeting and I look forward to working with the Administration on these issues."

Ricketts has been an advocate for expanding international trade opportunities for Nebraska's farm and ranch families. The Governor has led trade missions to China, Japan, Canada, and the European Union to expand markets and build new partnerships.

The roundtable discussion comes amidst concerns about the impact of trade negotiations on Nebraska's farm and ranch families. To date, President Trump's trade discussions have resulted in the opening of negotiations in key markets such as China, Japan, Vietnam, Argentina, and South Korea. This week amidst negotiations, President Xi Jinping of China declared that the country would open sectors such as banking and auto manufacturing, increase imports of American goods, and expand intellectual property protections, among other reforms.

International trade is a key driver of Nebraska's economy. Statistics for 2017 show that Nebraska increased total pork exports by 20 percent and beef exports increased by 12 percent. Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.22 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production. Nebraska's $6.4 billion in ag exports during 2016 translated to $7.8 billion in additional economic activity.

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