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Published April 27 2011

Hoeven sees big trade potential in India

FARGO – India might seem a world away from North Dakota, but it holds billions of dollars’ worth of potential income for local businesses seeking to trade overseas, Sen. John Hoeven said Tuesday.

Hoeven, who recently returned from a congressional trip to Asia, said his office will help the North Dakota Trade Office spearhead a trade mission to India as early as late 2012.

Such a venture would boost North Dakota’s economy and, in turn, help the recovering U.S. economy, Hoeven said.

With 1.2 billion people and growing at a rapid rate, India’s middle class is poised to grow tenfold by 2025, Hoeven said.

He called India a “huge and growing market for U.S. exports” with “tremendous potential” for business growth.

Hoeven’s recent trip, along with work last year by staff in the state trade office, has laid the groundwork for future business ties between North Dakota and India.

The trade office began in 2005 when Hoeven was governor. It already has trade missions in places such as Hong Kong and Turkey, administrator Dean Gorder said.

Shane Goettle, Hoeven’s state director and the former director of the state Department of Commerce, will work with the trade office to advance potential partnerships between Indian and North Dakota businesses, Hoeven said.

Goettle said he’ll work to weed out barriers to international trade, and if necessary, Hoeven can propose regulatory changes in Congress to make it easier for companies to do business overseas.

Education, automotives, medical technology and aviation and defense are the areas with the highest potential for increased trade between India and North Dakota, said Heather Ranck, a Fargo-based official with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service.

For instance, international students are considered a valuable export to North Dakota, because of the economic benefit they bring to communities, Ranck said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541