July and August 2017 | View Online

World Trader | July and August 2017

Midwest Global Trade Association

From the President

Upcoming Events

China Outlook & Future of the Yuan

NAFTA's Revamp: What's at Stake?

Retail, Disrupted

Japanese Ocean Carrier Joint Venture to be named Ocean Network Express

The Amazon Effect and the Impact on eCommerce and Supply Chains

Don't Bottom Out your Bottom Line: Get Smart about Managing FX

Member Spotlight — SelfEco

Thank You, Newsletter Sponsor: Port of Seattle

From the President

By Anna Ouattara — MGTA President

Anna Outtara

Good morning trade community,

I trust that you are enjoying this beautiful sunshine weather.

There are ongoing reforms with trade policy and regulations, which means you need to be prepared to make the necessary adjustments to protect your company and your supply chain operations as well as staying compliant. From the U.S. considering leaving or renegotiating NAFTA, to the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, to Germany threatening to retaliate against the U.S. if the U.S. new sanctions on Russia harm Germany firms, to TPP countries agreeing to explore deal options without the U.S. to new Cuba policy, to U.S. exporters struggling to find inland containers due to China new environmental regulations on reducing volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions thus slowing container production, and so on, it can be challenging to make decisions that impact your bottom line.

How should you prepare? Join us July 10, 6:00pm at Surly Brewing Co. to hear from John Cooney, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce who would shed some light on how we can better plan. Thank you to all the collaborative organizations, GREATER MSP, Midwest Global Trade Association, the Minnesota District Export Council, the Minnesota Trade Office, and U.S. Commercial Service, Global Minnesota for putting this indispensable event for our trade community.

Register today — we look forward to seeing you!

I would like to spotlight Land O’Lakes, Inc. Corporate Office for having us host our June 8 event on ACE at their facility and all of our speakers, Kathie Raymond, Manager, FDA Compliance Livingston International, Nancy Luttrell, Director of Special Projects, F.H.Kaysing Co., Matt Rivard, Sr. Associate, Trade & Customs KPMG LLC and Anne Schultz, Import Analyst 3M.

Thank you all for your time and commitment as because of you, MTGA can continue providing a valuable learning experience to the trade community.

Furthermore, from our committees and board, I would like to spotlight Kathleen Murphy, Partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Ania Adamczyk, LCB, Sr. Compliance Manager, Global Trade at Target, Chad Smith, Trade Management Executive at Livingston International, for their continuous time and work offering exceptional speakers for MGTA trade seminars. Thank you, you are amazing!

Remember to register for our upcoming 10th Annual Golf Tournament on August 9, at Crystal Lake Golf Course. This even starts at noon.

In closing, we strive to meet our trade community needs so it is important that we continue to offer learning opportunities and we recognize each other contributions. We would like to hear from you, so please send us your success stories, concerns, or questions at bryanm@mgta.org. Thank you again to all our sponsors, members, board, and committee members, as your added value makes MGTA a great resource. Remember to visit our website for future events.

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Upcoming Events

Trade Insights and Networking

Want to meet globally-focused business leaders and enjoy some of Minnesota’s best locally-brewed beer? Then join us for an evening of global trade insights, networking, and socializing at Surly Brewing Co.

In addition to good beer and great networking, John Cooney, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce, will share insights into the Trump administration’s international trade priorities.

In his role as Senior Advisor for the Office of the Under Secretary for the International Trade Administration (ITA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce, John advises the Under Secretary on specific programs, policy, and administration matters. He works closely with ITA Senior Leadership. John recently served as the Budget and Administration Public Events Manager for the Presidential Inaugural Committee and prior to that was a partner at Minneapolis-based Fallbrook Communications.

Registration includes one drink ticket and heavy hors d’oeuvres from Surly’s award-winning menu.

Registration Information


Join Us at the 2017 MGTA Golf Tournament!

  • Date: Wednesday, August 9, 2017
  • Time: Noon to 7:00 p.m.
  • Location: Crystal Lake Golf Course, 16725 Innsbrook Drive, Lakeville MN 55044
  • Register now

The format for the tournament will be a best ball scramble with awards given to teams and individuals. In addition, there will be contests such as: hole-in-one, longest drive (men’s and women’s), a putting contest, and closest to the pin contest. Golf registration is limited to 144 golfers. Team entries will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Find out more about Crystal Lakes Golf Course!


10:30-11:30 a.m. Golf Registration (Driving Range Open)
Noon/12:00 p.m. Golf — Shotgun Start
5:00 p.m. Social Time
5:30-7:00 p.m. Dinner/Program and Prizes (you must be present to win!)

Fee (Save $15 dollars if you register by July 10!)

By July 10, 2017
Golf (includes dinner and green fees): $115
Dinner Only: $40

After July 10, 2017
Golf (includes dinner and green fees): $130
Dinner Only: $40

Weather Policy

Tournament will be played rain or shine.

Door Prize Donations

Door prize donations are greatly appreciated. If you'd like to contribute for company recognition at the event, arrange to have your door prize to the MGTA office by August 7. Please complete the registration form and indicate if you plan to donate a door prize. If you have questions, contact Ashley Crunstedt at 651.203.7248 or at ashleyc@mgta.org.

Interested in Sponsoring?

If you would like to get involved by sponsoring the golf tournament, visit our sponsorship page for details.

Crystal Lake Golf Course boasts a quality first-class facility, maintained to country club standards, on a daily fee basis open to the public. Conveniently located just twenty minutes south of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Lakeville, Minnesota, Crystal Lake features stately pines, pristine wetlands and is beautifully accentuated with seven ponds, which create challenging water hazards. Using the rolling terrain and beauty of this 160-acre property, designer William Gill & Associates was able to select spectacular natural settings for the tee boxes, fairways, and greens. This combination makes Crystal Lake one of the finest golf experiences in the state.

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Hole 7 at Crystal Lake


China Outlook & Future of the Yuan

By Todd Vollmers — Managing Director, Global Access Capital

There has been increasing interest in trends pertaining to China, particularly given its relatively new role as the world’s second largest economy and growing importance to international trade and the global economy. Since 1978 (when China began instituting political reform making it more open) according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased from 2.3 percent of the world economy to almost 18 percent. As a result, the Chinese economy exerts substantial influence on a variety of economic measures, including U.S. imports and exports, as well as global prices for such commodities as agricultural products and oil.

A key question related to China has been its progress toward a flexible exchange rate for its currency (officially called the Renminbi (“RMB”), which is denominated in “yuan” as the unit of account). China is one of the “Original members” of the IMF, which oversees the international monetary system as one of its core responsibilities. In addition, the IMF also monitors the financial and economic policies of its 189 member countries, which for each member country is part of a process known as an Article IV Consultation. The IMF recently concluded its Annual Policy Dialogue in Beijing in mid-June, and among other things, made some comments relevant to China’s monetary policy.

As described by the IMF, the key subject of discussions with Chinese officials and policymakers was the urgent need to accelerate the pace of reform, including allowing the yuan to move more freely, with improved communication with markets. A statement from the IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director, David Lipton, summarized that “[c]apital flow measures should be applied transparently and consistently” and that “[f]urther capital account liberalisation should be carefully sequenced with the necessary supporting reforms, including an effective monetary policy framework, sound financial system, and exchange rate flexibility.”

Incidentally, the IMF meeting in Beijing happened less than one month after the Chinese central bank changed its daily yuan reference rate formula and introduced a “counter-cyclical adjustment factor” that it said was meant to reduce volatility in the currency. Reacting to this move, some analysts have argued that the change was meant to reduce transparency over the yuan exchange rate, while others speculated that it was intended to counter downward pressure on the yuan in the event the U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates (thereby increasing the demand for the U.S. dollar). Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, reported that the “counter-cyclical adjustment factor” will be added to the closing exchange rate and to the basket of currencies for calculating the yuan’s daily fixing, or the mid-point rate from which the yuan is allowed to trade by up to 2 percent. In any case, this new component was expected to undermine the significance of the daily closing price against the U.S. dollar in the calculation.

One of China’s primary goals has been to further solidify its position as a global economic power. In a milestone event toward that goal, in 2016 the yuan joined the U.S. dollar, euro, Japanese yen, and British pound in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket (which determines the

currencies that countries can receive as part of IMF loans), and which was the first time that a new currency had been added since launch of the euro in 1999. Critics at the time pointed out that the addition of the yuan was largely symbolic, since the yuan did not fully meet the IMF reserve currency criteria of being freely usable, widely used to settle trade, or widely traded in international financial markets. At the time U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew stated that “[b]eing part of the SDR basket at the IMF is quite a ways from being a global reserve currency.” Of course, Chinese policymakers are aware of that criticism and distinction from other reserve currencies. However, in light of China’s goal of being a world economic power in every sense of that term, it remains to be seen when it will heed the IMF’s advice regarding reform and its currency.

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NAFTA's Revamp: What's at Stake?

By Thierry Ajas — Randstad Professionals

President Donald Trump, who repeatedly warned in his 2016 campaign about imposing tariffs or exiting international deals, this year decided not to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement and instead announced a renegotiation of the 23-year-old pact, with formal talks with Mexico and Canada starting as soon as August.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Mr. Ross is set to play a key role in the high-stakes Nafta talks and is already working on disputes among key industries in North America. This month he announced a preliminary deal with Mexico on sugar imports that generated some gripes from U.S. sugar producers as well as consumers of sweeteners but didn’t lead to an industry revolt or major backlash in Congress.

Failure to reach a deal would have opened the way for U.S. tariffs on Mexican sugar, with the possibility of Mexican retaliation on U.S. corn syrup.

But Messrs. Trump and Ross along with other top officials have more negotiating ahead to make progress on their preferred yardstick—reducing the U.S. trade deficits.

“It’s not inherent in free trade, in my view, that one country, namely us, has to absorb the entire cumulative trade surplus of the entire world,” Mr. Ross said.

Although he touted the Trump administration’s ability to solve trade disputes, Mr. Ross also defended the use of unilateral tariffs to block imports when trading partners are found to have “dumped” goods at below market value, or even when a flood of imports is seen as hurting U.S. national security or economic health.

The place of NAFTA in Minnesota’s economy

Over the past eight years, the trade deficit that Minnesota once had with its neighbor to the north, Canada, has been cut by two-thirds. The state’s trade with Mexico, meanwhile, has gone from a deficit to a surplus.

To many state business leaders, the main reason for those positive signs are the same: the North American Free Trade Agreement, which aimed to eliminate trade and investment barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Needless to say that a NAFTA revamp will have especially big consequences in Minnesota. Canada and Mexico are now the top trading partners for Minnesota farmers and manufacturers, accounting for one-third of the state’s $19.2 billion in exports in 2016, according an analysis of data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Most of Minnesota’s massive agricultural industry has benefited from NAFTA. Canada and Mexico ranked second and third behind China as the leading foreign purchasers of the state’s agricultural products, each market growing by nearly 200 percent from 2000-2014.

But not everyone has enjoyed the benefits of free trade. On his dairy farm in Goodhue, 60-year-old Dave Buck said Minnesota milk producers wish they could sell more to Canada, but they are blocked by trade restrictions despite NAFTA. Canada recently blocked imports of a new milk concentrate made by U.S. dairy processors, Buck said. It produced an economic “domino effect” that left U.S. processors unwilling to buy his and other dairy farmers’ milk.

University of Minnesota trade specialist Tim Kehoe was a consultant for Mexico during the original NAFTA negotiations. Kehoe said revisions can help, but the tenor of renegotiation is critical.

On the plus side, Minnesota has pumped up exports to Mexico for the past eight years. Overall, sales south of the border jumped $1.4 billion. Med-tech sales were up 58 percent. The state realized a 900 percent increase in the sale of vehicles, aircraft, vessels and other transport equipment to Mexico, growing from an inflation-adjusted $24 million in 2008 to $258 million last year. Sales of plastics tripled, while sales of prepared food doubled.

Robert Kudrle, an international trade economist at the University of Minnesota, cautioned that “bilateral trade balances don’t mean much in the short term.” He said Canada’s role as a source of raw materials to the U.S. and Mexico’s role as a supplier of “intermediate materials” used in the production process could cause imbalances.

“Most economists agree that NAFTA has strengthened the U.S.,” Kudrle said. Whatever the trade numbers say, Minnesota and the rest of the country have “a strong symbiosis with Mexico and Canada.”

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Retail, Disrupted

By Gary Daggett — Euler Hermes

+ Retail sales have been expanding at a +4.8 rate per year over the last decade (in nominal terms). While online activity only represented 9% of sales in 2016, it is set to climb to 15% by 2020. Both demand- and supply-side forces fuel this acceleration, as digital natives and platform businesses are disrupting and reshaping the industry. The removal of intermediaries generates exponential growth and risks.

+ Fierce price wars have drained the financial resources of many traditional players. Established players failed to adapt to supply chain digitization and address the ever-growing Consumer Experience (CX) challenge. Profitability declined to 5.7% in 2016, down from 8% in 2011. Large retailers with a turnover of USD10mn and more have paid a hefty price. Globally, the major bankruptcies have soared by +66% in 2016 number of

+ To preempt financial distress companies went on a shopping spree. In 2016 retailers spent a whopping total of USD2tn on acquisitions of tech companies, a sharp rise from USD148bn in 2014.

+ Euler Hermes’ Digitail (Digital Retail) survey measures risks related to the rapid digitization the digital pressure and digital potential based on ten indicators in twelve countries. It is derived from secondary data such as financials and national statistics, as well as in-house expert judgment from 1,500 credit analysts and underwriters around the world. Omni-channeling, cost of online presence, and mobility are perceived as the top three industry disruptors. Yet there is much regional and local divergence.

+ In-depth profiles are available for each of these12 countries. Four groups of countries emerge from the study:

First, the US, the UK, Germany and South Korea are under the most intense pressure to transform their business model. Yet most retailers in these markets are well positioned to deliver these changes.

Second, France, Japan, and to a lesser extent Italy and Spain, face major pressures for change from customers. Yet their readiness is limited.

China and India are keenly aware of the benefits of digitization but external pressures are kept at bay.

Last, in Brazil and Russia, the retail sector is outdated, and market players struggle with structural
Economic Outlook no. 1233-1234 / Spring 2017 / Spring Report

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Japanese Ocean Carrier Joint Venture to be named Ocean Network Express

By Kevin Johnson — Best Buy

In their October ’16 announcement Japan shocked the global container shipping industry by announcing that Japanese carriers K-Line, NYK Line and MOL Line will combine companies through a Joint Venture (JV) around efforts to combat a wave of mergers, acquisitions and even bankruptcy in the industry as carriers continue to wrestle with overcapacity challenges.

K Line and MOL will each hold a 31% stake in the JV while NYK Line will hold the remaining 38%. They plan to officially establish the new joint-venture company on July 1, 2017, while business commencement is expected to start as of April 1, 2018.

A holding company between the three partners will be headquartered in Japan with a holding company in Tokyo and global headquarters incorporated in Singapore. In addition, regional headquarters of the operating company will also be in Hong Kong, United Kingdom (London), United States (Richmond, VA), and Brazil (Sao Paulo).

The JV will be limited to integrating the three companies’ container shipping businesses, including worldwide terminal operation businesses outside of those terminals individually owned in Japan. The fleet of this new JV will total 1.4 million TEUs, placing the new company as sixth in the market with approximately 7% of global share. “The move will allow Ocean Network Express to better meet customers’ needs by providing high-quality, competitive services through the consolidation and enhancement of the three companies global network and service structures,” said the liners.

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The Amazon Effect and the Impact on eCommerce and Supply Chains

By Jakub Kowalczyk — Purolator

Target Corp. CEO Brian Cornell stated in early 2017 that the retail industry is in the middle of what he called a “seismic shift.” The driving factors of which are convenience, massive selection, low prices and fast delivery. Those driving factors have been coined the “Amazon Effect.”

More and more consumers are demanding the convenience of shopping form home, not only a wide selection of products and goods but a wide selection within those groups along with speedy and flexible deliveries, sometime within an hour or two. How will this impact eCommerce and the supply chains that produce, transport, warehouse and deliver all those goods to your doorstep at the press of a button.

Understanding the size of Amazon and why it is called the Amazon Effect

By now it is almost impossible to locate a consumer in the US that hasn’t completed a purchased online. If you did make a purchase online, there is almost a 40 percent chance that you did it via Amazon.com.

Last year online retail sales in the US reached $400 billion and that was up 15.6 percent over the previous year. In the same period Amazon grew 24.9 percent to $123.77 billion in sales of products it owned plus fees for its third party sales on its market place globally.

While impressive this does not account for the full impact of Amazon. While Amazon does not release the total value of everything sold on Amazon known as gross merchandise volume (GMV) it is estimated to be $147 billion in the US, up from $112 billion the previous year. Amazon alone accounts for $4 out of $10 spent online in the US, two-thirds of $52.9 billion in eCommerce growth, and slightly more than one-quarter of the $127 billion in growth for all retailers. Needless to say, Amazon is the driving force in the retail and eCommerce space.

The Amazon Effect on Supply Chains

To deliver on the speed and reliability that we have grown accustomed to or even depend on, traditional supply chains have had to evolve, and evolve quickly. The key to adopting to these changes will be technology and flexibility.

  • Orders are no longer processed in batches at the end of the day with cut-off pick up times. Orders are processed instantaneously and even sent to fulfillment and sort center immediately.

  • Manufactures must be more agile. Learn to produce smaller batches, improve machine change-over times, leverage robotic to accommodate faster demand schedules

  • Near Sourcing. Looking at the costs benefit model of when to outsource to say, China or when to near source such as the U.S. While production cost maybe higher in the U.S, transit times, sorter turnaround and lead times may result more manufacturing in the U.S. or a mix. An apparel company may choose to produce a sweater in Bangladesh but have it dyed in the US to adjust for local or changing styling preferences.

  • Fulfilment and resellers will have to leverage vendor/warehouse management inventory and process systems to prevent stock outs or excess inventory.

  • Transportation carriers must adjust to smaller and more frequent shipments. Drone delivery, automated vehicles, shared-economy, route optimization technology must all play a part to reduce cost and improve delivery times.

  • Brick and mortar retails stores will have to change. Wal-Mart for years has offered free delivery to its stores for pick up and they will begin beta testing associates deliver online orders on their way home to customers. Target announced that it will remodel 600 stores by 2019 to include “10 minute parking” and speed entrances close to grocery, grab and go items, self-check out and pick up of online orders.

The Amazon Effect is causing not only the retail, but the supply chains to rethink and redesign their models to stay relevant and cost effective. Supply Chains are no longer about moving the goods from point A to B but an integrated model that leverages technology so the consumer at the push of a button can have a product delivered within a couple of hours to their doorsteps or pick the groceries in 10 minutes on the way home.

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Don’t Bottom Out your Bottom Line: Get Smart about Managing FX

Submitted by JP Morgan Chase

For many businesses global activities increasingly contribute to corporate earnings growth.

S&P 100 companies generate approximately 60% of their earnings from outside of their base operating currency.1 But currency volatility creates an ever looming threat that can destroy value fast. One S&P 100 multinational corporation lost 9 percent of full-year earnings per share in 2015. Another saw $17 billion in sales evaporate.2 If you don’t address currency risk as you expand into new growth markets, the problem will only intensify.

No matter how sophisticated you are, you might not see it coming. Out of 133 global corporations, 56% said that lack of visibility and reliability of FX forecasts is the biggest challenge in managing FX risk.3 Volatility impedes predictability.


Market conditions are always evolving. Corporate treasury must be ready to respond to risks that could destroy value and opportunities to enhance performance. How can you be flexible if your supporting banking structures are rigid? A lack of flexibility is often layered in:

  • Bank account structures that are often hardcoded. Many accounts around the world hold pockets of cash in non-functional currencies, spread across banks.
  • Liquidity management being less mobile as a result of account structure. Viewing and managing liquidity across jurisdictions to support payment flows is complex. Idle cash sits in non-functional currencies, or, if centralized, then there is a clunky, often manual process for moving liquidity at the right time to support payments and optimize cash.
  • Currency exposures that are challenging to cohesively view, aggregate and manage. Hedging is often a separate activity from the flow of business that created the exposures.

The resulting inflexibility exposes companies to risks while limiting the possible upside amid shifting market conditions and emerging opportunities.


The good news is that the avenue to FX flexibility is through the above same three layers. Whether your global presence includes manufacturing, sales and distribution, or a blend of both, you can identify a finite number of choices for achieving change by assessing your business activities and transaction flows.

Accomplishing this task requires the following series of steps:

Simplify your bank account structure

  • The old assumption is that companies should reduce the number of their accounts to better manage their FX risk. Rather than merely query the number of accounts however, the more relevant question for companies in this context is how to avoid hardcoding a complex account structure altogether.

The ability to manage your entire operations from a single account could transform how you approach payments and collections, liquidity, and currency risk. A new generation of solutions makes this achievable. Today, you can design a hierarchy of virtual or sub-ledger accounts to solve for complex accounting issues. An alternative structure is to place a cluster of physical accounts in multiple currencies in a single location. No one size fits all. The right structure will depend on your operating model, business activities and transaction flows.

Free your liquidity

  • A flexible account structure frees you to make liquidity more efficient to manage. Solutions that embed FX in liquidity management serve the flow of business while letting you aggregate and strategically manage currency exposures.

The ability to manage your entire operations from a single account could transform how you approach payments Solutions for funding and sweeping cash let you tightly link payments, liquidity and FX for agile mobilization of cash in alignment with transaction flows. For example:

    • Just-in-time funding builds on a simplified centralized account to automate local currency payments. The solution embeds FX and lets you pay directly via local ACH systems. Embedding FX within funding lets you manage currency exposures while increasing payment efficiency.
    • Some companies need to retain local currency accounts. You can fund these automatically from one central account in your functional currency and convert and centralize residual balances in the same manner. This allows you to retain onshore accounts and limit the duration of currency exposures without compromising central liquidity.

Such solutions allow you to consolidate liquidity and hedge against a currency pool that can be invested in the most advantageous interest rate environment.

Tightly manage currency exposures

  • When you take these steps, FX becomes a connection, or bridge, between liquidity and payment flows that is embedded as part of an automated end-to-end process. Managing FX in this way removes pockets of cash in non-functional currencies where the currency exposure tied to any one position may seem small, but the aggregate exposure could be large and financially damaging. Natural hedges become possible where payments and receipts enable them.

Accounts, liquidity and FX align to support payment flows and underlying business while strategically managing currency risk. FX risk management is no longer a separate task but instead tightly integrates within the account structure.


With an automated, self-regulating solution in place, it doesn’t make sense to revert to a labor-intensive approach for managing residual FX or cash investments. Underlying the quest for the best rates is the hidden cost of employing a team of people who are engaged in placing multiple calls to compare rates before then executing FX trades. It is more beneficial economically to leverage the flexible, automated system you have built and extend it to these activities to reduce these costs.

Additionally, you can segregate your long-term strategic currency hedges and investments for handling via your multi-dealer platform. This efficiently minimizes the costs of running a manual investment machine.

  • Risk and opportunity: interest rates
    • Evolving rate environments exemplify the need for flexibility. With global variances between negative, flat and rising rates liquidity must be visible and mobile across currencies to the extent possible to minimize costs and risks while optimizing cash. Liquidity mobilization for investment can embed automated FX and be directed based on your liquidity profile including yield benchmarks.


As you sculpt your infrastructure, you must evaluate potential providers to determine how well they can address each layer and bring together the three composite parts for achieving FX flexibility. Tackling flexibility layer by layer allows you to manage liquidity, payments and FX cohesively. Simplification takes work as it requires you to unwind hardcoding of account structures. However, the end result will improve your responsiveness to business requirements in an ever-changing corporate environment.

1 Bloomberg FactSet, October 2013
2 “Dollar Defying Forecasts Stumps Hundreds of Companies that Hedge”, Bloomberg, March 3, 2016 (Source for reference: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-04/dollar-defying-forecasts-stumps-hundreds-of-companies-that-hedge)
3 Deloitte, 2016 Global foreign exchange (FX) survey (Source for reference: https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/ press-releases/deloitte-fx-survey-reveals-risk-to-managing-currency.html)

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Member Spotlight — SelfEco

By Danny Mishek — President, SelfEco

SelfEco logo for Caterware Stillwater Minnesota

SelfEco logo for Garden Stillwater Minnesota

SelfEco garden infographic

SelfEco is a startup company based in Stillwater, MN. They focus on bringing products to market that avoid landfills. They do this by using plant-based plastics instead of the traditional petroleum-based plastics. These plant-based products may be composted in an industrial compost site.

SelfEco has two product lines:

Caterware Line

The Caterware line compliments the food service industry. SelfEco Catering makes drinkware, cutlery and small plate items that can be composted with the other organics. These are value-add products that complement the venue and are a “green” solution without compromising function or style.

Garden Line

The Garden line make garden pots that you can plant directly into the ground with your plant. These garden pots breakdown throughout the growing season. The awesome part about these garden pots is that SelfEco has compounded plant food (nutrients) into the walls of the container. When the pot breaks down, it releases the nutrients to the plant’s roots! This reduces or eliminates the need for fertilizer. One billion petroleum pots are sold each year with plants in them and only 2% get recycled. By having these garden pots compost throughout the growing season, we can eliminate a lot of waste into the landfill.

Products may be found on their websites or at Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Gardeners.com.

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Do you know an MGTA member who was recently promoted or hired to an import/export company? Know of a member who recently got married or had a new addition to the family? Share the good news with your industry colleagues by emailing Kylle Jordan.

Thank You, 2017 Annual Sponsors!

Bremer Bank


Neville Peterson, LLP

Drinker, Biddle, and Reath


SBS Group of Companies

Cassidy Levy Kent

Chase/JP Morgan Logo

Global Training Center

Cassidy Levy Kent

Bennett Jones