China is Nebraska’s second largest trading partner, and while Nebraska exports such agricultural products as beef, corn and soybeans to China, China also invests in the state, Ricketts said at a forum on US-China investment hosted by New York-based business news website Yahoo Finance.
“It’s a pretty healthy, robust relationship,” said the 54-year-old governor.
State governor since 2015, Ricketts has made fostering business ties between Nebraska and China a priority.
During his tenure so far, Nebraska and China’s Shaanxi Province established a sister states relationship, an agricultural demonstration park was set up near Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province, and Tongji University in Shanghai and the University of Nebraska Medical Center fostered a partnership.
“We’ve been over to China to help introduce our folks to folks over there, develop those relationships,” Ricketts said. “So we really look to see how we can foster that relationship in many ways,” he said.
The governor mentioned in particular Nebraska’s beef exports to China, which went up 86 percent in a year.
Nebraska is one of the major beef-producing states in the United States, making up about half of all US beef exports, he said.
“So we are very pleased with where things are going, and we want to continue to see that go that way,” he said.
With respect to the ongoing trade talks and a potential trade deal between China and the United States, Ricketts, who was appointed in December 2018 as a member of the US Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, said he hopes to see the US-China trade deal get “wrapped up.”
The governor said he and other officials from agricultural states gave feedback to President Donald Trump about “how important that relationship with China is.”
“China, for example, is a large destination for our soybeans. That’s a big deal here in Nebraska,” Ricketts said.
“And so when we see the trade relationship be disrupted, it has an impact on our farmers,” he said.