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Governor Pete Ricketts on Friday praised the president following news from the White House on the signing of a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico named the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“President Trump has delivered on his promise to finalize a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico,” Ricketts said, in a provided statement. “The importance of this new deal to Nebraska cannot be overstated. These two countries are top customers for Nebraska, and are critical markets for growing trade opportunities. This new deal makes progress in the three areas Nebraska’s leaders outlined for trade negotiations with these countries over a year ago. Most importantly, it helps give Nebraska’s farmers and businesses much-needed certainty, and will help us grow these important trade relationships for years to come.”

Mexico is Nebraska’s second-largest export market and Canada is the state’s third largest market. Combined, the countries purchased over $2.4 billion worth of Nebraska’s exports in 2016. Canada and Mexico are also substantial direct international investors in Nebraska, employing about 6,400 people in the state. Mexico is the state’s largest export market for corn, dairy products, and sugar/sweeteners. Canada is Nebraska’s largest export market for ethanol and dog and cat food.

Here is a breakdown of Nebraska’s top six agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico (combined):

• Corn: $315 million

• Beef: $246.6 million

• Soybeans and Soybean Products: $217.6 million

• Sugars and Sweeteners: $124.2 million

• Ethanol: $88.5 million

• Pork: $78.3 million

Ricketts’ comments come a day after it was announced he was eleted to be the chairman of the national Republican Governors Association for 2019.

"The RGA is the most effective political organization in the country," Ricketts told one of The Columbus Telegram’s sister papers, the Lincoln Journal Star. "And I am honored to serve as RGA chairman for 2019.

"Republican governors are delivering results, achieving meaningful reform, making government more efficient and effective, and moving their states forward," he added.

"I am deeply honored to serve in this role as we work together to help Republicans elect even more reform-minded leaders across America over the next year."

Ricketts assumed the Republican Governors Association chairmanship immediately and will serve for one year.

Lee Newspapers' Don Walton contributed to this report.

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