National Export Initiative

New Markets, New Jobs
The National Export Initiative Small Business Tour

February 17, 2011 – Minneapolis



Check-in and Registration Begins

8:30 – 9:30am

Breakfast Plenary Session

  • U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk
  • Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills
  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan

9:30 – 9:45 am


9:45 – 11:30 am

Trade Resources Panel: This panel will include speakers from the federal government and the private sector, and will provide practical, how-to information about resources that are available to help small-and medium-sized companies sell their products and services in markets overseas.  

11:30 – 11:45 am


11:45 – 1:00 pm 

Lunch Plenary Session

  • U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
  • Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States Fred Hochberg
  • Governor Mark Dayton
  • Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

1:00 – 1:15 pm


1:15 – 2:15 pm  

First Breakout Sessions:

(I) Taking Advantage of New Export Opportunities in Canada and Mexico

ITA Senior Commercial Officers Richard Steffens (Canada) and Ann Bacher (Mexico) will make a presentation and lead an interactive discussion about how Minnesota firms can best take advantage of emerging export opportunities in the vast Canadian and Mexican markets.  Despite their proximity to the United States and high propensity to buy American, most U.S. firms do not export to Canada or Mexico, and those that do rarely take full advantage of the export opportunities the markets offer.  The United States exports over $240 billion to Canada, and last year, U.S. exports there grew by $45 billion, an increase greater than the total export gain to China and Europe combined.

U.S. exports to Mexico grew nearly 30% in 2010 to over $150 billion.  Mexico is the second-largest market in the world for U.S. exports.   The U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service has nine offices throughout Canada and Mexico to ensure U.S. firms have the support they need to expand their exports to these two large and growing markets.

(II) Navigating the China Export Market Successfully: Exporting to China and the Asia Market: 

China is the world’s second-largest economy and has become the United States’ largest overseas market.  Further, China is expected to grow rapidly for the foreseeable future, with millions of people joining a middle class that will want American-made products and services. This session will provide practical advice for American companies considering exporting to China and a discussion of possible market-entry strategies for the Chinese market. Additionally, it will provide an overview of U.S. trade policy objectives associated with Asia, including: U.S. hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Coordination Leader’s meeting, the prospective U.S.–Korea Trade Agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership and America’s ongoing dialogue with China.   

(III) Export Financing in Minnesota:

This panel, hosted by the representatives from the Small Business Administration and The Export-Import Bank of the United States, will focus on export financing tools available to Minnesota businesses. This breakout session will also include speakers from local financial institutions and businesses that have successfully accessed export financing.

2:15 – 2:30 pm


2:30 – 3:30 pm

Second Breakout Session (Note: Attendees may choose a second selection from the breakout session offerings)


University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center
200 Oak St., S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455


The agenda is subject to change. Please monitor our page on the Minneapolis stop for updates