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New Trade Strategy Aims to Double Exports By 2017

March 22, 2012

Governor Dayton highlights Minnesota export success stories 


Saint Paul – Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced a new strategy to double Twin Cities exports by 2017.  The MSP Export Initiative will focus on growing exports; increasing the global visibility of the region and helping companies get their products to foreign markets.  The initiative was developed through a partnership between the Minnesota Trade Office, the City of Minneapolis, and the Brookings Institution.

“Delivering Minnesota products to expanded markets represents a tremendous opportunity for business growth and more jobs,” said Governor Dayton.  “Minnesota companies produce high-quality goods and services, which can be very successful internationally.  Helping our businesses to identify their most promising opportunities and sharing the best practices from other successful companies will be critical to Minnesota’s future economic success.”

“Our goal is to capitalize on the significant assets of the Twin Cities region to create new jobs through increased exports,” said MN Trade Office Executive Director Katie Clark. “With most market growth expected to occur outside the United States this century, we think it’s a smart strategy to position the Twin Cities as a global leader in exporting.”

According to a study by the Washington, D.C., based Brookings Institution, worldwide demand is strong for goods and services from the Twin Cities area. In 2010, Twin Cities companies exported $17.6 billion worth of goods and services, ranking 14th among U.S. metropolitan areas. The study said those exports supported about 117,155 jobs in the Twin Cities.

The same study concluded, however, that the region hasn’t capitalized on its full potential as an exporting region. Brookings ranked the Twin Cities 67th among the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas for export growth.

The MSP Export Initiative will offer a four-point strategy designed to achieve the following objectives:

  • Double metro exports from 2012 to 2017.

  • Expand the number of Twin Cities companies that export, particularly small businesses, and increase the number of markets reached.

  • Increase the global orientation of the region by attracting more foreign direct investment, building trade relationships and networks, and capitalizing on the area’s wealth of immigrants, international students and other assets.

The MSP Export Initiative was developed by a steering committee comprised of leaders from 20 government agencies and other entities in the region. The Minnesota Trade Office and the city of Minneapolis were co-leaders of the effort.

Governor Dayton also recognized several companies who have been successful in international markets, announcing the winners of the 27th annual Governor’s International Trade Awards.  These awards are given yearly to companies across Minnesota that have been successful in the international marketplace.  The companies range from small to medium sized businesses to some of our state’s largest employers. 

Ten companies received the Governor’s International Trade Award.  The companies honored today are: 

Delkor Systems, Inc. (Circle Pines)
Digi-Key Corporation (Thief River Falls)
Jet Edge, Inc. ( St. Michael)
Gear Grid LLC (Forest Lake)
KwikRink Synthetic Ice (Maple Grove)
Mayo Clinic (Rochester)
ME Global Inc. (Minneapolis/Duluth)
Northwest Grains International, LLC (Minneapolis) 
PaR Systems, Inc. (Shoreview)
Proto Labs (Maple Plain)


More information on each of the winners is attached.