Minnesota to open German trade office in Dusseldorf

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As Gov. Mark Dayton's European trade mission enters its last leg, he announced that Minnesota will open a trade office in Germany.

The Dayton administration says the office in Dusseldorf will promote Minnesota exports and German investment in the state's businesses.

As the Pioneer Press reports, Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben says that part of Germany has an industrial base similar to Minnesota's, with a focus on medical devices, food processing, and renewable energy.

Sieben says Medtronic, 3M, and Ecolab are among the Minnesota companies with headquarters in the area.

Currently the state has only one foreign trade office, which is in Shanghai, China. In announcing plans for the German office, state officials pointed to success in Shanghai, noting that in the year after that office opened Minnesota exports to China rose more than 70 percent.

That's the sort of data it took to win over Governor Dayton himself, who is a one-time critic of overseas trade offices. Dayton tells the Star Tribune it "took some real persuasion" by Sieben and other trade officials to win him over to the idea.

But the governor's change of heart now seems complete. The state plans to open two other foreign trade offices in countries that have not yet been revealed.

Dayton and about forty other business, education, and government leaders are nearing the end of their 10 day trade mission to Sweden and Norway, as well as Germany. The St. Cloud Times reports the meetings included a visit with representatives of Geringhoff, a German company that plans to open a farm implement factory in St. Cloud next year.

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