ST. PAUL, Minn. — Brazil and South Korea are the latest countries where Minnesota officials are preparing to open trade offices, according to advertisements posted Monday that seek contractors to set up the outposts.
The state Department of Employment and Economic Development is seeking bids from contractors with established business ties in both places. The two locations would fill out the roster of three new trade offices authorized by the Legislature. Lawmakers gave the Minnesota Trade Office a $1.5 million boost in the recently enacted state budget.
While on a European trip last summer, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that the state would put a trade office in the Dusseldorf-Cologne area of Germany. Minnesota has an existing trade office in Shanghai, China.
By later this month, the state hopes to have a proposal for the office in Sao Paolo, Brazil that leaders hope will help Minnesota businesses tap into South American markets. South America is a small but growing sliver of the Minnesota export pie; exports to Brazil rose ten-fold to $341 million between 2011 and 2012.
Similarly, potential contractors must step forward before Christmas with plans for the Seoul, Korea office that is seen as a gateway to other Asian markets. In 2012, Asia was the destination of about one-third of the $20.6 billion in total Minnesota exports. South Korea was among the state's top 10 trading partners.
Both solicitations that were posted in the State Register are subject to change.