The Minnesota Trade Office said Thursday it forged deals with marketing firms in seven regions around the world to promote the state as a source of goods and a destination for capital and jobs.
The trade office, part of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, hired representatives in Canada, Mexico, Japan, the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The firms will provide export promotion and assistance to Minnesota companies in those regions and work to attract foreign investment to Minnesota.
Previously, the state trade office had representation in Germany, Brazil and South Korea. Those contracts expired last June and officials since then studied where to hire new international marketers based in part on where Minnesota companies are doing business overseas.
The decision to open more offices was also shaped by changing global-trade conditions, an agency spokesman said. For instance, the trade office decided to hire a separate representative in the U.K.
"This expansion is great news for Minnesota businesses, farmers and our state's economy," Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement.
"These new offices will create more opportunities for Minnesota exports across the globe, which already support more than 118,000 jobs in our state."
The trade office hired the international representatives — who are either individual contractors or consulting firms with trade promotion experience — to one-year, renewable contracts through a competitive process. The value of the contracts wasn't disclosed.
Last year, Minnesota's exports amounted to $21 billion of goods to 203 different countries, about 7 percent of the state's economic output.
Canada and Mexico are the largest markets for Minnesota goods, the trade office said.