Minnesota has made great strides in the last decade to become a major player in international trade. According to the Business Roundtable, an association of top CEOs from America’s largest corporations, over 740,000 jobs in the state depend on international trade. The export of goods and raw materials from Minnesota has contributed significantly to job growth in the state in recent years, as employment in export related industries has grown five times faster than total employment in the state. This growth is inclusive of both labor force and corporate professional staff, which has made international business majors at the state’s business school’s eager to become part of Minnesota’s growing participation in international commerce.
A total of 6,351 Minnesota companies exported goods and services in 2009, the latest year in which reports were published. The Port of Duluth alone contributes $2 billion annually to the state’s economy, while supporting over 2,000 jobs. The International Trade Administration notes that exporting is not just the domain of large corporations, as more than 90% of Minnesota-based businesses that export internationally are classified as small to medium sized enterprises.
Minnesota’s International Trade Partners
Canada is Minnesota’s largest trade partner, accounting for $5.4 billion in exported merchandise and services in 2010 alone. Other significant international trade partners include Japan, which imported $1.1 billion in goods and materials from Minnesota-based companies, followed by Mexico with $977 million in imports from the state that year.
The Business Roundtable notes that China is one of Minnesota’s fastest growing trade partners. Exports to the Asian nation increased from $1 billion in 2008 to $1.6 billion in 2010, making China Minnesota’s second largest trade partner.
Major Minnesota exports to global markets included computers and other consumer and industrial electronic products, which totaled $4 billion in 2010. Minnesota is also a major exporter of industrial machinery, mass transportation vehicles and components, as well as processed foods.
International Business Jobs in Minnesota
A sampling of some of the largest exporting companies based in Minnesota includes the globally recognized Minnesota, Mining and Manufacturing Co., better known as 3M. Headquartered in Maplewood, 3M employs roughly 16,000 workers and corporate staff throughout the state. 3M’s global sales reached $27 billion in 2010, with operations in 65 countries worldwide.
Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene and energy services, is headquartered in St. Paul. Ecolab has operations in 160 countries and employs 27,500 workers globally. Other major international businesses include The Scouler Company of Minneapolis, which exports grains, corn, wheat and soybeans to markets like Taiwan and China, among others. Natureworks LLC of Minnetonka is a major exporter of resins and biopolymers to countries in Asia and Europe.
Foreign-controlled companies make major contributions to state economies by investing capitol in facilities and providing jobs. Foreign-owned companies from countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and France employed 92,000 workers and corporate professional staff in Minnesota, according to the International Trade Administration’s 2010 report. Some major multi-national companies with operations in Minnesota include BAE Systems of the United Kingdom, the world’s second largest defense contractor, and Deutsche Telekom, a German telecommunications company.
As these companies and others continue to expand both at home and abroad, they will continue to be major employers of experienced international business consultants, managers, import compliance and trade specialists, as well as international marketing managers and market research analysts.
Making International Business Contacts in Iowa
Minnesota offers a number of resources for those interested in seeking information about international business: