A Roseville-based airflow systems manufacturer called Horton Inc., was honored by an undersecretary of commerce for selling its goods in 20 new export markets in the past two years. Francisco Sanchez of the U.S. Commerce Department visited the company April 22 and gave the firm an “export achievement certificate.”

Horton now has customers in Belize, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ghana, India, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The federal government is keen to recognize successful exporters, after President Obama in 2010 set a target of doubling U.S. exports by 2014. The goal is optimistic. American exports would have to rise 20 percent each of the next two years. In 2012, they rose 4.3 percent. “It’s a stretch goal,” Sanchez said, but “we can really move the dial if we have communities around the country that are pushing their own initiatives.” 

The Twin Cities has its own initiative, and an office of the U.S. Commercial Service promoting exports. Gov. Mark Dayton announced in March 2012 an initiative designed to double exports from the Twin Cities by 2017.

That too would now be a rosy projection. To reach that goal, businesses in the metro area would have to increase exports at a pace of 15 percent each year. Minnesota exports were up 7 percent in 2011, and growth flattened in the fourth quarter of 2012.