New trade offices to promote Minnesota exports to Asia, South America

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From high tech to taconite, Minnesota products will get higher profile on-the-ground promotion through new state trade offices to be established in Sao Paolo, Brazil and Seoul, South Korea.

The Associated Press reports that Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development on Monday began advertising for contractors to help it open the new offices in both countries.

The Legislature authorized the establishment of three new trade offices with a $1.5 million allotment in the most recent state budget. While visiting Europe on a trade mission last summer, Gov. Mark Dayton announced the state would open a trade office in the Dusseldorf-Cologne area of Germany.

The offices are meant to enhance the state's expanding international trade and presence. In 2012, Asia was the destination of about one-third of the $20.6 billion in total Minnesota exports, with South Korea was among the state's top 10 trading partners. South America is regarded as a growing segment for Minnesota, with a tenfold jump in exports to Brazil between 2011 and 2012.

Minnesota already operates a trade office in Shanghai, China.

Earlier this year, the Business Journal reported that Kathleen Motzenbecker was named the executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. She had spent the previous two years as director of membership for the Minneapolis Downtown Council. MinnPost noted that DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben had previously held the position.

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