Gov. Dave Heineman and Nebraska's Agriculture Director Greg Ibach offered positive remarks of the free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama passed by the U.S. Congress. Governor Heineman had urged Congress to pass these agreements for months in order to benefit Nebraska's farmers and ranchers.
"These three trade agreements hold great opportunity for increased Nebraska exports, particularly for our agricultural sector," said Gov. Heineman. "I am pleased that Congress and the administration finally were able to approve these measures which we will be pursuing at the state level."
These agreements provide new potential for a number of Nebraska commodities, including corn, soybeans, wheat, beef and pork. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture expects the increased trade will help Nebraska reach more than $5 billion in annual agriculture exports.
Gov. Heineman, Dir. Ibach and several agricultural organizations sent a letter to President Barack Obama in April, encouraging him to work with Congress to pass the agreements. The letter highlighted the significance of agriculture exports to the Nebraska economy.
"With yesterday's action, we hope to be able to grow our robust agricultural exports even more," Dir. Ibach said. "The reduction or elimination of tariffs and other trade barriers will allow us to be more competitive in these markets."