N.D. delegation organizing Colombia trade mission for fall 2012

John Hoeven

FARGO – North Dakota’s congressional delegation says it’s planning a trade mission to Colombia for sometime this fall.

Rep. Rick Berg, Sen. John Hoeven and Sen. Kent Conrad are in the preliminary steps of coordinating the trip with the help of the U.S. Commercial Service, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the North Dakota Trade Office.

Hoeven said the catalyst for the mission, a new free trade agreement with Colombia he worked to help pass in Congress, will create valuable opportunities for North Dakota agricultural machinery and aviation manufacturers, as well as the state’s food companies.

North Dakota’s members of Congress were major proponents of trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, which were ratified and signed last fall.

Rick Berg

“We’ve seen the benefits that come from a renewed commitment to trade,” Berg said in a statement today. “These recently passed trade agreements will help spur economic growth and will empower our small businesses to create more good American jobs, two things that our economy desperately needs right now.”

“The trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia could increase exports by at least $23 million in North Dakota alone,” Berg added. “It’s important that our local businesses continue to become aware of the tremendous potential that these agreements hold for opening markets and increasing our state’s ability to export our goods and services.”

According to the North Dakota Trade Office, the state exported $2.5 billion in manufactured goods in 2010, which supported over 17,000 manufacturing jobs. In 2009, North Dakota exported $3.19 billion in agricultural products, which supported over 45,170 agricultural jobs.