U.S. Commercial Service

Are you interested in expanding your business? The U.S. Commercial Service helps U.S. companies find new international business partners in worldwide markets. The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. Every year, they help thousands of companies export goods and services worth billions of dollars. U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets. The nearest Export Assistance Center in Minnesota is located in Minneapolis, MN.

 U.S. Commercial Office in Minnesota

330 Second Avenue South
Suite 410
Minneapolis, MN 55401

E-Mail: Office.Minneapolis@trade.gov

Phone: (612) 348-1638


STEP Grant Program

The STEP program provides financial and technical assistance to qualifying Minnesota small businesses with an active interest in exporting products or services to foreign markets. Participants may be first-time exporters or companies that are currently exporting but are interested in expanding into new international markets. Small businesses may apply for reimbursement of up to $500 for export-training that will result in the development of an export strategy or up to $7,500 for approved export-development activities.

Person of Contact:

Jackie Geiger

E-Mail: Jackie.geiger@state.mn.us

Phone: (651)-259-7485

International Trade Finance Guide

The U.S. Trade Information Center’s Trade Finance Guide is a good resource that provides an overview of export finance resources.

U.S. Small Business Administration – Office of International Trade

The SBA offers several trade financing programs.  Contact the SBA’s Minnesota District Office at 612-370-2324 for additional information about accessing SBA financing programs.

Export-Import Bank of the United States

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services through a variety of insurance, loan and guarantee programs.  Minnesota-based companies should contact the Ex-Im Bank office in Chicago at  312- 353-8081 for assistance. Learn more about Ex-IM Bank.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)

OPIC supports U.S. investment in emerging markets worldwide, fostering development and growth of free markets. OPIC Financing provides medium- to long-term funding through direct loans and loan guaranties to eligible investment projects in developing countries and emerging markets. By complementing the private sector, OPIC can provide financing in countries where conventional financial institutions often are reluctant or unable to lend on such a basis. Learn more about OPIC.

Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP)

MDCP is a competitive matching funds program that builds public/private partnerships by providing federal assistance to non-profit export multipliers such as states, trade associations, chambers of commerce, world trade centers and other non-profit industry groups that are particularly effective in reaching small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). MDCP awards help to underwrite the start up costs of exciting new export marketing ventures which these groups are often reluctant to undertake without Federal Government support. Learn more about MDCP.

U.S. Trade and Development Agency

One of the TDA’s primary activities is the grant funding of feasibility studies and other project planning activities for major projects in developing and middle-income countries. The studies are conducted by U.S. private sector firms and represent a wide range of host government high priority sectors, including energy, transportation, telecommunications, information technology, manufacturing, minerals development, and the environment. Learn more about USTDA.

Export Counseling and Training

From basic guidance for companies new to exporting, to technical, regulatory and logistical information for more experienced companies, to market intelligence and research, to the art conducting business across borders and cultures, the resources below may have answers for your most pressing questions.

Trade Assistance Helpline

For general trade assistance call the helpline to reach an international trade representative who can either answer your questions or make appropriate referrals. You can also send an email and someone will followup with you quickly.

E-Mail: Mto.TradeAssistance@state.mn.us

Phone:  (651) 259-7498

Market or Industry Specific Assistance

For trade questions that are related to specific markets or industries, contact the appropriate international trade representative listed below.

Southeast Minnesota

Natalie Siderius

Regional Representative Southeast Region

E-Mail: natalie.siderius@state.mn.us

Phone: (507) 205-6069

Market Research and Trade Resources

When it comes to doing business in foreign markets, getting the right information at the right time is often the difference between success and failure. Here you’ll find resources to help you conduct market research, understand trade regulations and documentation, find financing and partners, and avoid common mistakes, struggles and pitfalls.

Leave a Reply