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Ambassador Froman and Congressman Brad Ashford Highlight Nebraskan Exports and President Obama’s Trade Agenda in Omaha

April 08, 2015

Top U.S. trade official visits a local farm and manufacturer to illustrate how President Obama’s trade agenda will unlock economic opportunity for Nebraskans and put the Middle Class first

Omaha, NE – U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, the chief United States official on international trade and a member of the President’s cabinet, travelled to Omaha Wednesday to showcase the benefits that Nebraska’s exports are delivering for the local economy and to demonstrate why President Obama’s historic trade strategy is a centerpiece of the administration’s Middle Class Economics agenda.

Together with U.S. Representative Brad Ashford (NE-2), Ambassador Froman visited the Ueberrhein Family Farm, where Ryan Ueberrhein, in partnership with his father and other farmers, raises soybeans and corn on 1,500 acres of land. Soybeans are Nebraska’s most-exported crop, and in 2013 the state sold $1.6 billion in soybeans to other countries.  Large amounts of American soybeans are exported to Asia, where the Obama Administration is on the cusp of finishing a major new trade agreement that will break down numerous trade barriers.

Before touring the Ueberrhein farm, Ambassador Froman and Congressman Ashford held a roundtable conversation with Nebraskan farmers and ranchers about how the Obama Administration is working day-in and day-out to help them export more world-class agricultural products to other countries and support more jobs near Omaha.

“Made-in-America exports, like the world-class agriculture and manufactured products I saw today in Nebraska, support tens of thousands of high-paying jobs in this state and millions more across the United States,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.  “That’s why President Obama’s Middle Class Economics agenda focuses on groundbreaking new trade agreements with Asia and Europe that put Main Street, American workers, and American agriculture first. It’s been very exciting to see first-hand how trade delivers extraordinary benefits and unlocks economic opportunity in the American heartland today.”

 “A major component of Nebraska’s future economic growth will depend on access to foreign markets,” said U.S. Representative Brad Ashford (NE-2).  “When done responsibly by protecting American jobs, greater market access for Nebraska-produced goods will lead to job growth at home, and can further foster an environment in which our producers will be more competitive in the global marketplace.” 

This afternoon, Ambassador Froman and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert visited Valmont Industries, Inc., a major employer in the Omaha area that exports infrastructure and agriculture equipment all over the world – including to several important countries with which the United States is negotiating a major new trade agreement.  Valmont Industries leadership led Ambassador Froman and Mayor Stothert through a facility where workers manufacture mechanical irrigation equipment that is then sold overseas.

"Valmont manufactures products that are essential to meeting food production needs in our state, country and around the world," said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. "Nebraska's economy revolves around agriculture and Valmont is an important community and global partner."  

In 2014, Nebraska exported nearly $8 billion of goods abroad – supporting tens of thousands of well-paying jobs. In 2013, $4.3 billion of those exports came from the Omaha area.

The Obama Administration has undertaken the most ambitious trade agenda in American history to expand opportunity across the United States, which will build on Nebraska’s strong export record and enhance economic growth through unprecedented trade deals that are being negotiated with countries in the Asia-Pacific region and the European Union

These agreements will break down barriers to Nebraska’s top 3 export markets.  They will also spur economic growth, support jobs, and protect American workers with strong rules of the road that make the U.S. more competitive and level the economic playing field.

To view a fact sheet about the economic benefits of exporting for Nebraska and how the President’s trade agenda is designed to grow those benefits, please click here.