St. Paul, Minn. (Oct. 1, 2011) — Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton returned along with the delegation of businesspeople, agriculture industry representatives, education and civic leaders from an official trade mission to South Korea.
The trade mission to South Korea was the first under Governor Dayton’s administration and was a productive mission to a country that is an important export partner and growth market for Minnesota.
“I am told by the participants that the trade mission was extremely helpful to many of them in strengthening existing ties and forging new relationships that will benefit them,” Governor Dayton said. “I am optimistic that the personal relationships I established with the chairmen of major Korean and Japanese corporations will increase significantly future possibilities for new jobs in Minnesota.”
Throughout the week, delegates had numerous opportunities to meet with Korean companies to establish relationships, and in some cases deepen existing business relationships. Delegates were also briefed by the U.S. Embassy on the geo-political and business climate in South Korea.
During the trade mission, Doug Ruth, CEO and founder of EarthClean, a clean technology company, signed an agreement with SAM JOO S.M.C. Co., Ltd., a clean technology and industrial coatings company based in Seoul, South Korea, establishing SAM JOO as the exclusive EarthClean distributor for South Korea. EarthClean produces TetraKO water enhancer, an innovative and environmentally friendly alternative to existing firefighting technology.
“It’s with support from Governor Dayton and the trade mission that we’ve been able to sign our first international distributor agreement and further our connections into the Korean government,” said Ruth. “This is an exciting and very important event for EarthClean.”
Minnesota agriculture was represented in the trade mission by delegates from the Midwest Dairy Association, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the Minnesota Farm Bureau, the Minnesota Farmers Union and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.
Kevin Paap, President of the Minnesota Farm Bureau said, “In Minnesota, we grow more than we can use; it only makes sense to continue to build the relationships that will increase our trade with South Korea.”
Governor Dayton, joined by State Senator Jeremy Miller and Dale Wahlstrom, CEO of the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota and LifeScience Alley, met with the South Korean Minister of Trade, the Honorable Kim Jong-Hoon to discuss reimbursement for medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
“Governor Dayton’s trade mission opened the door to the Ministry of Trade that would not otherwise be open to private businesses, and the conversations we had in this meeting have the potential for helping to solve a major reimbursement problem the industry faces in Korea, which would have a profound impact on every medical device company in Minnesota, doing business in Korea” said Wahlstrom.
Katie Clark, Executive Director of the Minnesota Trade Office, said, “We are very pleased with this productive trade mission to Korea. Governor Dayton and the Minnesota delegation represented Minnesota very well and developed key new relationships with Korean companies, agriculture associations and universities that I expect will lead to increased idea exchange, investment and export growth for Minnesota companies.”