ST. PAUL (Dec. 17, 2013) — The Minnesota Trade Office on Tuesday announced plans to open foreign trade offices in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Seoul, South Korea, in 2014.
The two cities will join the earlier announced site of Dusseldorf-Cologne, Germany, as the locations of three new trade offices that will open in the coming year.
Funding for the foreign offices was approved by the Minnesota Legislature last spring after Gov. Mark Dayton proposed the idea in his Global Competitiveness Initiative.
“These three sites are an outstanding choice that will help us increase Minnesota exports and attract foreign direct investment in the state,” said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). “In addition, Germany, Brazil and South Korea are key locations for leveraging investment from other parts of Europe, South America and Asia.”
The three countries were among the state’s largest export markets last year, with Germany ranking fifth at $728 million, South Korea sixth at $707 million and Brazil 15th at $341 million.
They also are major sources of foreign direct investment. German companies rank fifth in the world in that category, including investing $1.4 billion in plants, property and equipment in Minnesota and employing 9,000 people in the state. Geringhoff, a major German producer of farm implements, opened its first U.S. manufacturing facility in St. Cloud this year.
South Korean companies had worldwide foreign direct investment of $23.2 billion last year, while Brazilian companies spent $13.7 billion internationally. Both countries tend to invest in such sectors as renewable energy, mining, agriculture, and food production and processing – all areas of strength in Minnesota.
State officials said foreign trade offices are smart investments that pay off by generating business activity. When Minnesota opened its Shanghai office in 2005, state exports to China increased 71 percent in the first year.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at http://mn.gov/deed. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/mndeed.