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      New Minnesota Trade Office Helps Business, Creates Jobs, and Improves Our Economic Competitiveness

      Posted on June 19, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      Increasing exports and attracting new foreign investment are critical to creating jobs and growing Minnesota’s economy. One proven strategy for improving Minnesota’s economic competitiveness is opening international trade offices. In 2005, when Minnesota opened its first office in Shanghai office, our exports to China increased 71 percent during the first year!

      Today, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that Minnesota will be opening a trade office in the Dusseldorf-Cologne region of Germany. Like the trade office in Shanghai, the European office will promote Minnesota exports and encourage foreign investment into our state. 

      Germany’s central location in Europe and its strong economy make it an excellent location for the new office. Last year, Germany was Minnesota’s fifth-largest trade partner with $728 million in sales, while the European Union accounted for 20 percent of state exports in 2012 ($4 billion). 

      Minnesota companies like Cargill, 3M, Medtronic, Carlson Cos., Ecolab and St. Jude Medical already are doing business in Europe. The new trade office will support their current efforts and help other Minnesota businesses interested in the European market.

      Germany also is a major international source of foreign investment – ranked fifth in the world. German companies have invested $1.4 billion in plants, property and equipment in Minnesota and employ 9,000 Minnesotans. Just one example is Geringhoff, a major German producer of farm equipment. Last year, they announced a $20 million investment for a factory in St. Cloud that will create at least 100 jobs. 

      The other 36 states that have opened new overseas trade offices also have enjoyed great success. In 2011, Pennsylvania opened ten new foreign trade offices, producing $831 million in export sales and more than 6,800 jobs. This proven success is why Gov. Dayton’s budget includes funding for two more offices in the future.  

      To improve our business competitiveness and create new jobs, Minnesota also is providing grants to help small businesses export their goods. And to help those in other countries understand the benefits of doing business in our state, Minnesota also is investing in marketing efforts abroad.