Minnesota will open a trade office in Germany in a push to increase exports to Europe, state officials announced Wednesday.

The office – which will be Minnesota’s second international trade office -- will be in Dusseldorf-Cologne, in Germany’s industrial heartland in the Rhine River Valley.

"Germany's central location in Europe and its strong economy make this region an excellent choice for one of our new trade offices," said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Germany was Minnesota's fifth-largest trade partner in 2012 with $728 million in sales, while the European Union accounted for 20 percent of state exports last year, about $4 billion. Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Sweden and Finland are other European Union countries on the state's top 25 export list.

Gov. Mark Dayton wants to open two more trade offices overseas, though the locations have not been announced.