By J. Lee
AAP staff writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 9, 2012) — From OATI’s global headquarters U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison held an Export Forum focused on helping small and medium size businesses.
The event included U.S. Commerce Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez, Greater MSP CEO Michael Langley, Minnesota Trade Office Executive Director Katie Clark, and City of Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.
OATI President & CEO Dr. Sasan Mokhtari exemplified achievements of an immigrant graduating from the University of Minnesota to starting a successful global business, now with 700 employees.
“Consumer demand for U.S. products is expected to increase,” said Ellison, adding that OATI was a visionary business model that fueled his interest in helping businesses grow and increase exports.
With the rise of the middle class in Brazil, China, Turkey and South Africa, Congressman Ellison said projections are $31 trillion in revenues by 2020 and where a rate of $2.1 trillion would support 10 million jobs. This would create jobs and be significant in eliminating the federal deficit and paying off China’s loans to the U.S. made before President Barack Obama took office.
Referring to the Export-Import Bank of the United State (www.exim.gov), Congressman Ellison spoke of $1.4billion in loan funds to help finance small “free trade agreements.”
Sanchez emphasized businesses needing to “be innovative and creative”. However, he can help “reduce trade barriers and increase demand for goods & services”. Stating that 95 percent of U.S. consumers are outside the U.S., Under Secretary Sanchez said his office is involved in “President Barack Obama goals to double export by 2014”.
Sanchez said the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’ Export Assistance Center helps with export financing export training. Their program “Select USA” focuses on attracting foreign and U.S. companies to invest in Minnesota.
Both Ellison and Sanchez called on businesses to provide feedback, “help the U.S. compete globally”, and “help the economy recover.”
Greater MSP CEO Michael Langley heads a 13 county collaboration of businesses and government leaders with an economic and global vision with goals to accelerate job growth and capital investment in Greater MSP. Key industries investing in the activities are: financial services and insurance; innovations and technology; food and agri- business; health and life sciences; corporate business services.
Marketing and outreach is in countries with the highest potential to invest in Minnesota as Canada, Japan, China, and Korea.
MTO Director Katie Clark said their mission is to increase exports and attract foreign and domestic investors. For more information, go to: http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/Business/Exporting_Trade/index.aspx.
The Trade Office is involved in the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association conference on Global Strategies for Economic Growth September 16-18, 2012 www.midwest-japan.org/pages/register.aspx.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke via video, stating that “we need to learn to sell to consumers outside the U.S.” There’s $4.9 billion per year in trade from Minnesota’s agriculture, manufacturing and mining companies. As Chair of the Commerce Sub-Committee, she lifts barriers so small businesses can market and sell abroad, but to think, invent, and make stuff.
In collaboration with the Brookings Institute, Mayor R.T. Rybak created a local plan of better export services & strategies that he referred to as “leading edge and ahead of other states.” He spoke of natural assets, human capital, and a “humanitarian infrastructure” as his “Step-up” program that helps children in poverty and immigrant children with higher education.