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Delegation announced for Gov. Dayton's China trade mission

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A 50-member delegation of business and industry association executives, higher education leaders and state government officials will accompany Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on an upcoming trade mission to China.

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The delegation will travel to Beijing, Shanghai and Xian (the capital of Shaanxi Province) on June 8 to 17 for market and industry briefings, business match-making events, networking events and meetings with key U.S. and Chinese government officials.

"China is a growing market for Minnesota manufacturers, service providers and agribusinesses," said Gov. Dayton. "I look forward to leading this prestigious delegation of Minnesotans, who well-represent our diverse economy and globally competitive products. Building relationships with Chinese leaders, expanding markets for Minnesota products and encouraging reverse investment are all aimed at growing our state's economy and creating more jobs for Minnesotans."

With sales of $2.3 billion in 2011, China is Minnesota's second-largest export market for manufactured goods. It is the state's top market for agricultural commodities and related food products, with purchases of $1.35 billion in 2010.

State export growth to China is expected to continue providing excellent opportunities for Minnesota companies to sell manufactured goods, services and agricultural commodities.

During the mission, delegates will be exploring new trade opportunities, gathering market insights, acquiring business contacts and potential partners and distributors, and working to attract Chinese investment in Minnesota.

"Entering a new foreign market or expanding existing operations requires sound market intelligence, experienced technical expertise and key business connections," said Katie Clark, director of the Minnesota Trade Office. "Our trade mission to China provides these essentials for companies and organizations exploring this market and looking for new opportunities for export growth."

Agribusiness is strongly represented, which makes sense given that China accounts for more than one-fourth of Minnesota's agricultural exports, said state Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, who is traveling with the delegation.

"In the past 10 years, our ag exports to China have jumped 800 percent, mostly driven by exports of bulk and intermediate commodities," said Frederickson. "China's the top buyer and the main market for Minnesota soybeans and a growing market for our pork."

To showcase Minnesota companies and export industries and promote the state as an ideal destination for Chinese foreign direct investment, the delegation will host three large receptions in Beijing, Shanghai and Xian. High-ranking Chinese government officials and top executives from Chinese companies will meet Gov. Dayton and network with companies in the delegation.

Accessing market intelligence and strengthening relationships with key in-market trade organizations, including the US-China Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, is also a key focus.

While in Xian, Gov. Dayton will visit Gov. Zhao Leji of Shaanxi Province, which is Minnesota's official Sister State in China, to reaffirm the official ties between the two states and celebrate the 30th anniversary of this partnership.

The signing of the sister-state agreement with Shaanxi Province in 1982 marks the official beginning of Minnesota's relationship with China, and it set the stage for many of the business, cultural, educational and governmental ties that have followed.

A list of business delegates follows:

Dave Anderson, International Sales Manager, Jet Edge Inc.

Peter Beacom, Software Architect, Quality Bunker

Laura Bishop, Vice President, Government Relations, Best Buy Inc.

Rick Breza, Owner/Sales, Superior Feed Ingredients

David Buck, Vice President, Minnesota Milk Producers Association

Griff Davenport, Managing Principal/CEO, DLR Group

Jeff Davidman, Director of Government Affairs, Delta Air Lines

Steve Dickinson, Partner and Co-Chair, Asia Practice Group, Fredrikson & Byron PA

Peter Dugan, Retail and Restaurant Specialist, CBRE

Adam Dombrovski, Sales Manager, Dombrovski Meats Co.

David Griggs, Vice President, Business Investment, Greater MSP

Trevor Gunn, Senior Director, International Relations, Medtronic Inc.

Tom Haag, Vice President, Minnesota Corn Growers Association

Sue Hammersmith, President, Metropolitan State University

Kevin Hanson, President, International Creative Capital LLC

Karl Johnson, Executive Board, Minnesota Pork Producers Association

Robert Jones, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration, University of Minnesota

Wayne Knewtson, President, Knewtson Soy Products LLP

Michael Langley, CEO, Greater MSP

Kevin Leiser, Board Member, Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council

Christopher Larus, Partner, Robbins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP

Steve Mertens, Chairman of the Board, LifeScience Alley

Steve Mindrum, Director of Sales and Marketing, GMI Inc.

Jim Moline, President, Midwest Ag Enterprises Inc.

Jay Moore, Executive Board, Minnesota Pork Producers Association

Dennis Nguyen, Chairman, New Asia Partners

Vince O'Brien, Vice President and General Manager, MK Foods (Michael Foods Joint Venture)

Kevin Paap, President, Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation

Earl Potter, President, St. Cloud State University

Jeffrey Rageth, Vice President of Public Affairs, 3M

Susan Rani, President, Rani Engineering

Ronald R. Rich, President, Atmosphere Recovery Inc.

Robert Sanberg, Chief Operating Officer, WindRider International

Michael Schumann, Managing Director, HSML, PC

Mark Sellner, CPA

Alan Wilensky, Attorney at Law

Min (Amy) Xu, Attorney at Law, Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Trade Mission Sponsors

3M

Best Buy

Cargill

Carlson

Delta Air Lines

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Ecolab

Fredrikson & Byron PA

General Mills

Minnesota Corn Growers Association

Minnesota Soybean

Mortenson Construction

Pentair

University of Minnesota

Zinpro

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