LINCOLN — On the heels of a successful trade mission to China, Gov. Dave Heineman said Monday he's on the lookout for other overseas opportunities to promote Nebraska.
“There isn't any place in the world I'm not willing to go if it will help Nebraska,” he said.
Heineman said he has led several trade missions in the hope of opening doors for Nebraska businesses and agriculture to expand the state's economy.
Along with traveling overseas, he has been part of reverse trade missions, in which government, business and trade officials from around the world are invited to Nebraska.
The governor returned Friday from leading a delegation of Nebraska business leaders and state officials to China. The weeklong mission included stops in Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai.
Heineman pointed to several significant developments and announcements that occurred during the week.
Among the highlights: the announcement of a new trade office in Shanghai, the agreement to establish a sister state relationship between Nebraska and Shaanxi province and the signing of a memorandum of understanding to work with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade on business-to-business matching.
As important, he said, the trip helped Nebraska businesses begin and build on relationships with Chinese businesses. Personal relationships are critically important in China and other Asian markets.
“These relationships take time to reach their full potential,” the governor said. “The Nebraska-China relationship is just beginning.”
He noted that Nebraska exports to China have grown by more than 30 percent over the past three years and that the Asian giant is now the state's fourth-largest trading partner.
Heineman said he used the time in China to talk up Nebraska's quality products and companies, as well as introduce his hosts to a part of the United States that is far from the better-known coasts.
He also plays the Warren Buffett card to bring attention to Nebraska.
The Chinese are well aware of the billionaire investor, Heineman said. He makes sure to point out that Buffett lives in Omaha.
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