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Governor Dayton Reconvenes Stakeholders for Discussion on Propane Supply and Demand

Posted on September 09, 2014 at 2:01 PM
Categories: Trade Mission, Environment, Public Safety, Outdoors

For more than 200,000 households in Minnesota, propane is the primary source of heat. With winter steadily approaching, Governor Mark Dayton is reconvening stakeholders today in Saint Paul to discuss the current propane supply and any factors that could impact demand for heating fuel this winter.
After an unprecedented propane shortage last winter, Governor Dayton is convening today’s propane summit in a proactive effort to help mitigate propane supply shortages in the winter months ahead. The Governor will be joined by representatives from the propane, agriculture and rail industries as well as his Commissioners of Agriculture, Commerce, Pollution Control, and Transportation for the discussion.
“During last winter’s propane shortage, this group worked to ensure the safety of all Minnesotans,” said Governor Dayton, who first convened propane stakeholders and state regulators last January. “Working together in the months ahead, they will do everything possible to prevent shortages, reduce drastic price increases, and provide all Minnesotans with fuel for the fall harvest and for their winter comfort and safety.”


Governor Dayton and Delegates Return after Successful Trade Mission

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 3:01 PM
Categories: Trade Mission

Governor Dayton with Daniel Johansson, of the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications
Governor Dayton with Daniel Johansson, of the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications

Gov. Mark Dayton and a 35-member Minnesota delegation of business, education and government officials are returning to Minnesota after a highly successful trade mission to Norway, Sweden and Germany. The governor and delegation ended the trade mission yesterday, with Minnesota hosting a reception to encourage trade and investment in our state. Numerous German companies attended this event that was held at the U.S. Embassy.

The trade mission showcased Minnesota as a superior place to do business, raised the profile of Minnesota companies and provided important networking opportunities to the delegates. Several events that were especially noteworthy took place during the 10-day trip.

Minnesota officials announced that a new office to promote Minnesota exports will open in Germany. The new office will be located in the Dusseldorf-Cologne area of Germany and is the first of three that will be opened internationally as a part of the governor’s Global Competitiveness Initiative. The two other sites will be announced at a later date. For more details, click here.


New Minnesota Trade Office Helps Business, Creates Jobs, and Improves Our Economic Competitiveness

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 1:43 PM
Categories: Commerce, Economy, Trade Mission

Increasing exports and attracting new foreign investment are critical to creating jobs and growing Minnesota’s economy. One proven strategy for improving Minnesota’s economic competitiveness is opening international trade offices. In 2005, when Minnesota opened its first office in Shanghai office, our exports to China increased 71 percent during the first year!

Today, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that Minnesota will be opening a trade office in the Dusseldorf-Cologne region of Germany. Like the trade office in Shanghai, the European office will promote Minnesota exports and encourage foreign investment into our state. 

Germany’s central location in Europe and its strong economy make it an excellent location for the new office. Last year, Germany was Minnesota’s fifth-largest trade partner with $728 million in sales, while the European Union accounted for 20 percent of state exports in 2012 ($4 billion). 


Building Bridges for Multiculturalism and Commerce

Posted on June 18, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Categories: Trade Mission

Ambassador Brzezinski, Governor Dayton, Foreign Minister Bildt and Mrs. Natalia Brzezinski

Ambassador Brzezinski, Governor Dayton, Foreign Minister Bildt and Mrs. Natalia Brzezinski. Photo credit: Brzezinski Blog

This post was originally published by Swedish Ambassador Mark Brzezinski on Brzezinski Blog on June 17, 2013.

This week we had the privilege of welcoming Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and a trade delegation of Minnesota business, universities and scientific and medical institutions to Stockholm, Sweden.  Among the fifty states, Minnesota boasts the highest number of Swedish Americans (almost 500,000).  The family ties, business relationships, scientific and university exchanges, and cultural linkages between Minnesota and Sweden combine to create a strong and growing connection.  The Governor’s visit gave us the chance to frame some of the key opportunities Minnesota and Sweden have to work together to advance common interests.  The values shared between Sweden and Minnesota are so many:  a commitment to cultivating the next generation through great education; the endless possibilities provided by scientific innovation, R&D and global commerce; a love for the great outdoors and a shared Northern topography; and even Ice Hockey – Governor Dayton is a former Division I Hockey player (a goalie), and Sweden just won the Ice Hockey World Championships!

The very first event we held for the Governor was a Diversity Dialogue with the Somali community in Sweden, and we had a mix of people around the table from a variety of fields.  The U.S. Embassy has started a new initiative we call “Diversity Dialogues,” which are an opportunity for us to gather Americans and Swedes to discuss issues related to diversity in both our countries.  Last October, when I travelled with the Swedish King and Queen to Minnesota, I broke off from the delegation to meet with representatives from the American Refugee Committee and the “I am a star” program – a Minnesota-based community project that highlights Somali-American contributions.  This time the Somali community in Sweden, as well as NGO’s and government officials interested in their welfare, had the opportunity to hear from the Governor of the U.S. state with the most Somali-Americans and to hear about Minnesota’s experience with assimilation of the Somali community.  The Governor’s incredibly thoughtful perspective on what has worked and what still needs work in Minnesota was really embraced by the participants in our Diversity Dialogue, and he was able to place his perspective in a context of Minnesota’s 150-year plus tradition of welcoming immigrants.  The Diversity Dialogue was followed by a large reception, where many representatives of Swedish government, business, NGO’s, and academia met the Governor and the Minnesota delegation.  We were deeply honored that Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Frank Belfrage, and the next Swedish Ambassador to Washington Bjorn Lyrvall attended, demonstrating the significance they place on the Minnesota – Sweden relationship.


Governor Dayton Departs On Trade Mission To Europe

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 3:36 PM
Categories: Trade Mission, Commerce

Stortinget: Parliamentary building in Oslo, Norway
Photo of Stortinget, the parliamentary building in Oslo, Norway. Photo Credit: Flicker user, Chris Brown.

Governor Dayton along with a delegation of 35 business executives, government officials and higher education leaders landed in Europe this morning, kicking-off their nine-day trade mission to Germany, Sweden and Norway from June 12 to 21.

The goal is to build relationships on this mission that will attract new export opportunities for Minnesota businesses and encourage companies in those countries to expand their operations in the state.

Delegates sign up for the trade mission because it offers them a unique opportunity to:
  • Explore new trade opportunities;
  • Gather market insights;
  • Acquire business contacts and potential partners and distributors; and
  • Work to attract investment to Minnesota.
The group will visit key business centers in Berlin, Dusseldorf/Cologne, Oslo and Stockholm, meet with business leaders and government officials, and participate in networking events and other activities.

Past trade missions have proved highly successful. During the governor’s last trade mission to China in June, several Minnesota companies and their Chinese partners closed deals. For example, Carlson Rezidor signed a deal for three new Radisson Hotels in Chinese cities; Nova-Tech Engineering, an agricultural robotics developer and manufacturer, closed a collaborative deal with a major poultry company.


Commissioner’s Column: Minnesota’s Agricultural Exports Hit a Record

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Categories: Agriculture, Trade Mission, Economy, Commerce

 Commissioner Fredrickson
When I became the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in 2011, I resolved to continue the good work this agency had been doing with regard to international trade. Like other commissioners who came before me, I understood that Minnesota’s farm and food sector needed to expand its visibility and market share in the fast-growing international markets of Asia and Latin America.

Two years in, I am pleased to say that we are making good progress. New figures from the Minnesota Trade Office show Minnesota exports of agricultural, mining and manufactured products reached a record $5.1 billion in the third quarter of 2012. State exports for the third quarter increased by 1 percent compared with the same period from 2011. This marks the eighth straight quarter of record exports in Minnesota. 

MDA’s own economic studies show Minnesota’s agricultural exports hit a record $6.8 billion last year. This is up 13 percent or about $750 million over the previous year. Agriculture is well-established as Minnesota’s second-largest exporting sector, with major markets in China, Mexico, Japan, and Canada. Minnesota now ranks sixth among all states in agricultural exports.


From St. Paul to Shaanxi: The History of our Sister Province

Posted on June 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Categories: Trade Mission


Minnesota’s relationship with China dates back to the 1870s, when the first Chinese immigrants traveled to the state. Over the decades, the bond between China and Minnesota has grown significantly and today Minnesota enjoys many sister-province and sister-city relationships, academic partnerships, business relationships, and cultural and humanitarian ties. On Friday, Governor Dayton’s delegation will travel to our sister state, the Province of Shaanxi, home of the famous terra cotta warriors, to meet with Governor Zhao and other Shaanxi Province officials and participate in a banquet for the delegation and celebrate the bond that has grown between our states.

MN-Shaanxi Sister State Agreement.jpgSo, how did this great sister relationship begin?  Between 1979 and 1981, a dedicated group of US China Peoples Friendship Association Minnesota (USCPFA-MN) volunteers, spent countless hours to make this dream a reality.  Volunteers initially proposed the idea for a sister relationship to USCPFA-MN Chapter President, Fred Ptashne, who enthusiastically approved the idea. This was followed by an official trip to Shaanxi by a Minnesota delegation to meet with Vice Governor, LI Lian Bi to discuss details about creating the sister relationship. Minnesota Governor AlQuie and Shaanxi Governor Yu Mingtao formally signed the sister-province agreement at a ceremony in St. Paul, Minnesota. October 19, 2012, will officially mark the 30th Anniversary of our Sister-province relationship.


Best Buy among Minnesota companies with presence in China

Posted on June 15, 2012 at 8:40 AM
Categories: Trade Mission

Having established themselves as a household name for many middle class Americans, Best Buy is now expanding its market in China, particularly through its subsidiary company Five Star.

Best Buy believes that Five Star can make China its largest overseas market, rivaling even their U.S. operations. FiveStar currently consists of roughly 200 stores, but plans to add 50 new stores this year and up to 500 more stores by 2016, to market to the growing Chinese middle class. Best Buy is hoping to prosper from this growth, and participating in the Governor’s Trade Mission will be key to their success. On the trip, Governor Dayton has had the opportunity to meet Nicholas Wang, Five Star’s Chief Executive, whose rolein the relationship between China and Best Buy will be expanding in the years to come as Best Buy begins to focus their Chinese efforts exclusively on building the Five Star brand.

Read more about Best Buy here: and more about Five Star here:

This new market investment has been a trial and error process for Best Buy. In 2001, only 3% of the Chinese population fit the middle class definition, whereas, in 2012, 18.2% are now considered middle class, with this expansion expected to continue. Additionally, Best Buy has faced challenges in determining Chinese priorities and realizing the differences that exist between American and Chinese consumer goods.

Read more about the Governor's trade mission here:


Highlighting Minnesotan Innovation

Posted on June 14, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Categories: Trade Mission, Technology

Minnesota Innovation

On his current trade mission to China, Governor Dayton is pleased to have two of Minnesota’s finest biomedical companies, 3M and Medtronic, joining him in as members of the delegation. In addition to fostering Minnesota’s trade relationship with China, this trip is a confirmation of Minnesota’s commitment to the exchange of both ideas and information as China and the United States move forward through the 21st century. There is perhaps no better symbol of that commitment than the biomedical field, a field which has unmatched potential to improve the lives of humans all across the earth.

In addition to embodying Minnesota’s spirit of shared progress, both 3M and Medtronic foster strong relationships with China. 3M has had a rubber and adhesives branch in China since 1984—3M China Ltd.—which has its headquarters located in Shanghai. 3M also has eight manufacturing sites and 26 business locations throughout China, and the company has invested over $750 million into the nation as of 2010. You can learn more about 3M’s work in China here.

Since over 60% of all management personnel in 3M are local, the Chinese branches employ primarily Chinese workers. And 3M’s relationship with China is mutually beneficial: according to 3M, the company’s presence in China has been crucial to the company’s overall profits.


Delegation Profiles: Tech & Innovation

Posted on June 14, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Categories: Trade Mission, Technology

Atmosphere Recovery Inc.

Ronald Rich isn’t exactly a novice when it comes to traveling in China.

The president and founder of Eden Prairie-based Atmosphere Recovery Inc. has been to the country four times – taking his most recent trip in March – and is already successfully selling some of his company’s products there.

But China is a huge market, and he is hoping that participating in the Governor’s 2012 Mission to China will open even more doors, particularly with government officials and industry leaders specializing in the renewable energy sector.

“I might learn some things on this trip that I didn’t know before,” says Rich. “By traveling with the governor, I’m hoping that it will help us get some introductions to people.”

Atmosphere Recovery, which Rich launched in December 1994, makes advanced gas analyzers that enable companies to reduce their energy usage and production costs. The analyzers help to monitor the complex mixtures of gases involved in making products, particularly in the steel, oil and gas, pharmaceutical and petrochemical sectors.


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