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Ambassador Kirk Highlights Importance of Small Businesses in Minnesota

Ambassador Kirk visited Minneapolis, Minnesota today to meet with local business leaders and kick-off the National Export Initiative (NEI) Small Business Tour. Ambassador Kirk co-hosted a conference entitled “New Markets, New Jobs,” that began with a breakfast plenary session at the University of Minnesota. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan and University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks joined Ambassador Kirk at the morning event.

During the plenary, Ambassador Kirk focused on how USTR is working to open markets around the world for American businesses of all sizes through trade agreements. Specifically, he highlighted how helping small- and medium-sized businesses increase international sales is a priority for USTR. Only one percent of U.S. small businesses currently export – and many of those only export to one country. USTR’s work, paired with the National Export Initiative, is making it possible for these businesses to sell more abroad and support well-paying jobs here at home.

Later, Ambassador Kirk toured the 3M Innovation Center and met with 3M executives. Ambassador Kirk spoke about the importance of innovation in making America’s businesses more competitive abroad. He also discussed how the U.S.-Korea trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership can help 3M increase their revenue from exports.

Visit to learn more about USTR and the National Export Initiative. And be sure to check back for more information on the NEI Small Business Tour.