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Peterson, Armstrong Re-Introduce Promoting Rural Exports Act


November 25, 2019

Representatives Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) reintroduced the Promoting Rural Exports Act this week in the House of Representatives.

The bill creates a Rural Export Center, which will help rural businesses access international markets and work to increase their exports. Peterson, long representing Western Minnesota, and Armstrong, representing North Dakota, have seen the hurdles rural businesses face in accessing international markets. The creation of a Rural Export Center within the U.S. Commercial Service will help these businesses across the 7thDistrict of Minnesota and North Dakota, as well as rural communities across the country, increase their exports and grow their businesses.

“Our agriculture and manufacturing sectors depend on strong export markets to grow and support good paying jobs in rural communities,” Peterson said. “At a time when our businesses face significant trade upheaval, the bipartisan creation of Rural Export Center will give rural manufacturers, farmers and businesses additional resources to sell their products more effectively to foreign markets and create another avenue of certainty for rural businesses.”

“The Rural Export Center will help rural businesses find the data and tools they need to reach international markets with their products,” Armstrong said. “With the right resources, rural businesses will compete on a global scale while creating jobs right here at home. This bill is a win for small businesses and rural communities.”

Key Provisions of the Promoting Rural Exports Act:

• Directs the Assistant Secretary of Commerce to establish a Rural Export Center at the U.S. Commercial Service to help rural businesses export their products;

• Requires the Rural Export Center to be centrally located and not in a major metropolitan area;

• Directs the Rural Export Center to provide customized market research services to help rural businesses target their exports;

• Directs the Rural Export Center to conduct strategic planning and export support services for rural businesses; and

• Requires the Center to make data relating to its effectiveness publicly available on its website.

Roger Brazier, Mattracks (Karlstad, MN)

“Mattracks is a rural manufacturer of rubber track vehicle conversion systems based in Karlstad, MN, and we support the Promoting Rural Exports Act of 2019. What a great idea to put together a research team to help companies export more. This is long overdue. Mattracks has exported to over 120 countries, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need help from time to time. When we did our in-depth market research study in 2017, what we learned was eye opening. I went into the project with three countries in mind that I wanted to focus on, but I learned that one of the countries I had picked was not a good fit. Instead of spending thousands of marketing dollars and lots of time finding out it wasn’t right, we took another direction. Our international business how now grown by leaps and bounds. We not only support the Promoting Rural Exports Act of 2019, but we will also promote research services to any company that wants to start or expand their export business. It’s 100% invaluable! We also strongly believe that a rural research center should be based in a rural area of the United States.”

John A. Novak, Vice President International Services, Bremer (Minneapolis, MN)

As a current DEC member in both the states of North Dakota and Minnesota, I support the Rural America’s Intelligence Service for Exporters [R.A.I.S.E.] This program will assist companies new to exporting and those who already have sold product in foreign markets. Many companies know there is much to learn and most do not know what to ask and then where to go for their answers. They definitely need assistance along the way. This information will expand/increase their sales. Most companies/exporters are far away from major sources of information. The Rural Export Innovation Lab will provide assistance and much, much more along the path to exporting their product.

Thomas D. Shorma, WCCO Belting, Inc. (Wahpeton, ND)

"As the CEO/President of a rural North Dakota international small business and Chairman of the ND District Export Council, I whole heartedly support the Promoting Rural Exports Act of 2019 also referred to as R.A.I.S.E. This kind of assistance and encouragement to effectively identify and to secure new business in foreign markets is tremendously valuable. In fact, the U.S. Commercial Service office in ND has provided similar services for us as a part of our participation in an past Export-Tech program. Today, our business generates as much as 60% of its total revenues from customers located outside of the United States. We ship product to over twenty countries. We are a business that would employ 60% less people if it were not able to effectively find and sell to globally.The Promoting Rural Exports Act of 2019 will not only help WCCO continue to identify emerging market opportunities but will also show other North Dakota rural businesses new to exporting that international expansion is an obtainable goal. North Dakota is widely considered a rural state that is full of people who are ready and willing to accept the challenge of competing in a global marketplace. The Promoting Rural Exports Act / R.A.I.S.E. program is just the tool to accelerate and guarantee cost effective exporting success."

Bruce Gjovig, CEO Emeritus, UND Center for Innovation Foundation (Grand Forks, ND)

“The Promoting Rural Exports Act of 2019 creates a Rural Export Center in a rural state to provide rural companies an opportunity to secure in-depth market research in targeted countries on potential export clients without having to invest lots of time and thousands of dollars to travel to those countries by themselves. For many rural companies to grow they need market intelligence to secure new international customers.”

Michael Wagner, JD- CEO, Sea Foam Sales (Eden Prairie), Sea Foam International (Bismarck, ND)

“Sea Foam Sales Company is a Minnesota company based in Eden Prairie, MN. The company has been in existence since 1942. Its flagship product, Sea Foam Motor Treatment, has for many years enjoyed being one of the besting selling fuel additives in North America. Sea Foam International, Inc. is a North Dakota corporation based in Bismarck, ND. It was formed and tasked with taking Sea Foam products into foreign markets. It has been a fun, challenging, and sometimes dizzying task. While all of us at Sea Foam-U.S. and Sea Foam International love the Midwest, being here does present unique barriers in accessing international markets. Quality data key to making informed decisions on entering foreign markets is hard to obtain and very expensive. It is extremely time-consuming just figuring out what data sources exist, much less subscribing to them for the time needed to analyze a particular market. The proposed [Promoting Rural Exports] Act would consolidate all of that into a great resource for rural businesses. And while the services we received from the USCS are great, it would be very helpful to have even more detailed data, customized to exactly what we need. I see the Act provides for that.”

Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate, by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND).


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