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Gov. Pete Ricketts kicked off his newest initiative to expand foreign trade opportunities for Nebraska products with the inaugural meeting of his Nebraska Governor's Council for International Relations.

Members of the council met with Ricketts on Monday at the Governor's Residence.

Ricketts formed the council in July to bring business, agricultural and education groups together to focus on increased trade and development of new international trading partnerships.

"International trade and engagement is a crucial part of our state's long-term growth," the governor said Tuesday.

"Whether it takes the form of beef exports, inbound foreign direct investment or student and cultural exchanges, Nebraska's relations overseas bring great benefit to the entire state," he said.

Ricketts said he has identified three goals for the council, including development of comprehensive long-term strategies to expand existing trade relationships while promoting new ones and supporting the growth of existing partnerships with new opportunities.

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The council also will center on growing investments in the state.

Members of the council include representatives of agricultural organizations, chambers of commerce and the University of Nebraska. 

The 50th annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference will be held in Omaha in September of 2018, Ricketts noted. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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