Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, Arun Kumar on July 1, 2014, highlighted the economic importance of exporting in rural America at a Rural Export Initiative Roundtable at Titan Machinery in Moorhead, Minnesota.
Joining Kumar were Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Hoeven (R-ND), and six local companies who shared their experiences with exporting.
“Companies large and small are expanding their reach and selling products to customers around the world,” said Klobuchar. “Expanding these opportunities for growth will help power our economy, especially in rural America where many businesses face additional challenges. This meeting today with Assistant Secretary Kumar was an important step in ensuring our businesses can compete in the global economy.”
The three officials also presented Ideal Aerosmith, Inc., a Grand Forks and East Grand Forks security and defense manufacturer, with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Achievement Award.
“It’s exciting to find such a high-tech, innovative company reaching the world from rural America,” said Kumar. “I congratulate Ideal Aerosmith for their export accomplishments.”
The award is presented to companies that have benefited from U.S. Commercial Service export assistance to enter new foreign markets. The company has been working with the U.S. Commercial Service since 1998, and has received assistance for business dealings in China, Singapore, Korea, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil, Japan and Mexico.
“We sell cutting-edge testing solutions that are inherently complex,” says Jim Richtsmeier, Senior Vice President at Ideal Aerosmith. “Consequently, it’s in our best interest to simplify the rest of our sales process as much as possible. When it comes to exporting our sensitive equipment, the help provided by the U.S. Commercial Service does just that.”
Senator John Hoeven added: “Ideal Aerosmith reflects the kinds of innovative, advanced technology companies that are helping to grow North Dakota’s economy and provide a model for the nation, which is why their U.S. Commercial Service award is so deserving. As a partner in our UAS and Life Sciences & Advanced Technologies Centers of Excellence at UND, it is at the hub of what has become a cluster of great advanced technology companies. And it’s happening here because there are so many people working together with that focus and that commitment, that vision of the future that will keep making it happen.”
During his visit, Kumar also visited WCCO Belting in Wahpeton and Tech Mahindra in Fargo, N.D.
The Rural Export Initiative (REI), announced alongside the Farm Bill in February 2014, aims to bring more federal resources to rural areas to help businesses take advantage of export opportunities-and to further boost overall exports in Minnesota and North Dakota. Last year, Minnesota and North Dakota merchandise exports totaled $20.8 and $3.7 billion respectively. Under the current REI program, the U.S. Commercial Service will bring Commercial Specialists from Brazil and Australia to Fargo in the near future for one-on-one meetings with local companies.
In May of this year, the Obama Administration announced stepped up efforts of its National Export Initiative by launching NEI/NEXT, which aims to further assist U.S. exporters through enhanced quality service, more potential foreign buyers, and reduced export transaction costs for U.S. exporters.
Roundtable company participants included:
- Titan Machinery (Peter Christianson, President)
- Ideal Aerosmith (Jim Richtsmeier, Senior Vice President for Business Growth & Technology)
- Mattracks (Roger Brazier, Export Manager)
- Digi-Key (Dave Doherty, Executive VP)
- WCCO Belting (Tom Shorma, President & CEO; and Chairman of the ND District Export Council)
- Superior Grain Bins (Jon Engelstad, International Sales Manager)