LINCOLN — Another trade agreement announced Wednesday was trumpeted by Gov. Pete Ricketts as positioning Nebraska to grow its exports to Taiwan.

Taiwan signed letters of intent to buy more than $2.1 billion in U.S. soybeans, corn and distillers grains.

The country last year purchased about $70 million in corn from Nebraska, which was about 5% of the total corn exports from the state. Taiwan was Nebraska’s fifth-largest export market for corn in 2018.

Representatives of the Nebraska corn and soybeans boards signed letters of intent with Taiwanese firms Tuesday evening, according to a press release from the Governor’s Office. The release did not specify how much grain would be purchased from the state, though it said past agreements had resulted in “millions of dollars” of sales.

“The international marketplace is vital to growing opportunities for the quality commodities produced here in our state,” Ricketts said. “We will continue to work to open up new markets for the food our farm and ranch families grow to feed the world.”

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Later on Wednesday, the new trade deal with Japan was announced, which will eliminate or reduce tariffs on several ag commodities in exchange for dropping U.S. tariffs on some Japanese goods, including steam turbines and bicycles. Japan is Nebraska’s largest export market for beef, pork and eggs, and Ricketts said a trade agreement has been in the works for four years.

The deal, he said, “is a big win for the Beef State,” referring to one of the state slogans used for Nebraska.

Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

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