Craig McEwen, Published November 13 2009
Klobuchar urges more exportingSmall- and medium-sized businesses, listen up: Uncle Sam wants to help you become an exporter.
That’s the message Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., along with trade officials and business leaders, told those attending an export promotion summit Thursday in Moorhead.
“There’s a world of opportunity out there, Klobuchar said, noting that 95 percent of the world’s customers are outside of the United States.
“It’s a great time to get our foot in the door because of the fact that the dollar is weak and there is a burgeoning market outside of the U.S. for our goods,” Klobuchar said. “We want to turn around that trade deficit. One of the ways to do it is to start exporting American goods to some new customers.”
Fewer than 1 percent of all American businesses export overseas and nearly 60 percent of those sell their products only to Canada or Mexico, she said.
“There are literally tens of thousands of American businesses that have the potential to export and would like to export. But they don’t know where to begin,” Klobuchar said.
Federal agencies like the Commercial Service, Small Business Administration and Department of Agriculture and state trade offices offer programs to help businesses promote their products abroad and navigate their way into export markets, she said.
For instance, the U.S. Commercial Service provides direct market access to any country in the world, said Heather Ranck, director of the agency’s Fargo office, which also serves 13 counties in northwest Minnesota.
“It’s a great way for companies to get into international business at a minimal cost,” said Don Aberle, a manager with agriculture and construction equipment dealer Titan Machinery in Moorhead.
Titan, with 72 stores in the Upper Midwest, has worked with the Commercial Service to sell products in the Ukraine, South Africa, Uruguay and is now trying to create partnerships in Mexico, he said.
Fargo-based Agri ImaGIS Technologies is a service provider that helps farmers manage their fields more effectively, said Mark Miller.
A recent trip to the Philippines, a producer of high-value crops, opened a lot of doors for his company, Miller said. “There’s plenty of opportunities.”
Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502