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Dave Olson, Published July 05 2012

Turkish trade mission: Business, political leaders get ground-level look at North Dakota

FARGO – Turkey is one of the largest customers in the world of the kind of sunflower seeds Red River Commodities in Fargo processes and sells.

So, Robert Majkrzak, company president and CEO, was more than happy Thursday to play host to a group of visiting Turkish business leaders and politicians.

“In that Mediterranean area of the world, there is nice demand for high-quality, in-shell sunflower seeds,” Majkrzak said, adding that visits like the one Thursday allow potential customers to view firsthand the quality of products produced here and compare it with what they might find elsewhere.

“It contrasts the difference between the American control systems and overall quality of product,” he said.

The Turkish delegation arrived in North Dakota earlier this week and it has been making numerous stops around the state, according to Stephanie Sinner, a North Dakota Department of Agriculture representative who was helping show the group around.

She said such visits are invaluable for creating ties between producers in the state and customers around the world, adding it was clear buyer-seller connections were being made this week.

“Always with exports it’s not immediate, it does take time. But I definitely perceive we made some good connections,” Sinner said.

Yasemin Erkut, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who lives in Turkey and who was serving as translator for the Turkish delegation, agreed.

“This delegation is high level from one province, so I’m hoping this will generate more trade between the U.S. and Turkey. That will be a good outcome,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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