Brazil And South Korea Chosen For MN’s New Trade Offices

In addition to the newly announced offices, Minnesota also has plans for a foreign trade office in Germany and has already established an office in China.

The Minnesota Trade Office announced plans Tuesday to open foreign trade offices in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Seoul, South Korea.

The two sites follow the choice made in June to establish a trade office in the Dusseldorf-Cologne area of Germany. The three offices will open in 2014 and are part of a previously announced initiative aimed at increasing Minnesota’s competitiveness on the global stage.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the three countries were among the state’s largest export markets last year, with Germany ranking fifth at $728 million, South Korea sixth at $707 million, and Brazil 15th at $341 million.

“These three sites are an outstanding choice that will help us increase Minnesota exports and attract foreign direct investment in the state,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a statement. “In addition, Germany, Brazil, and South Korea are key locations for leveraging investment from other parts of Europe, South America, and Asia.”

DEED said all three countries are major sources of foreign direct investment. South Korean companies directly invested $23.2 billion last year internationally, while Brazilian companies spent $13.7 billion internationally. According to DEED, both countries tend to invest in renewable energy, mining, agriculture, and food production and processing.

Additionally, German companies rank fifth in the world for foreign direct investment. German companies have invested $1.4 billion in plants, property, and equipment in Minnesota and employ 9,000 Minnesotans, according to DEED.

Geringhoff, a Germany-based farm equipment manufacturer, announced last year it would invest $20 million in its first North American factory, which will be loated in St. Cloud and will create 100 jobs in the first phase of development.

Minnesota’s only other foreign office is in Shanghai, China, which opened in 2005. State officials said one of the main goals of foreign trade offices is to generate business activity. When Minnesota opened its Shanghai office, state exports to China increased 71 percent in the first year, said DEED.