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World Trader - Dec 09
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December 2009
Volume 6 | Issue 6

World Trader

From the President

The President of the United States' "E" Award for Excellence

Upcoming Events

Global Recession Hits Minneapolis Container Market

Country of the Month: Kazakhstan: From 35W to the Great Silk Road

Sponsor Spotlight: Zepol

MGTA Featured Volunteer: Mary Jo Stangl

Featured Member Benefit

Welcome New MGTA Members!

A Harmonized (Tariff) Christmas

From the President

by Sandy Taylor, Hyundai Merchant Marine, MGTA President

Wow, how time flies, this is my last article for the MGTA.

This past year I spearheaded the change of our management group – WOW what a task that transition was. Ewald has fresh ideas and will help the MGTA broaden our Midwest outreach. A new website was created, which has great sorting, RLS feeds and long term calendars. Mark Toth brought our website into the current century.

A key initiative for me was to get our sponsorship and advertising program running. Many companies were wonderful about hosting education seminars, sponsoring key event and such. I wish to thank each and everyone of you. In a tough financial year sponsorship greatly assisted us in keeping our costs down and allowing for great events with member companies. I was very impressed with the opportunity to go to various companies' offices that I had not been to in the past. It is fascinating to see how our market operates. Our association has such an impressive array of talent.

I wish to acknowledge Jim Moore and Paul Rasmussen for grabbing Forums by the horns and hosting two events. Their partnership with education, will further enrich our organization.

Membership had a new networking event last month. I look forward to going to more of those, for the opportunity to chat with other members outside of our typical events. In 2010 there will be events outside of the Metro.

There were so many members who volunteered for committees and events this past year. Every month more people stepped up. Volunteers keep the MGTA dynamic. Thank you to every one of you for your helping hands. There are so many places that we can put good ideas and helpful hands to good use as we go into 2010. Join in and help the MGTA reach our members objectives.

I bow out as the snow starts to fly and wish all a successful New Year.


Sandy Taylor

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The President of the United States' "E" Award for Excellence

Medtronic Earns Presidential Award for Exports

by Mari McClafferty, MGTA President-Elect

The "E" Award is one of the most prestigious forms of recognition offered by the U.S. Government to U.S. businesses!
Congratulations to Medtronic as the most recent Minnesota recipient of the Presidential "E" Award for making significant contributions for increasing American exports! Medtronic officially received the "E" Award on November 5, 2009 at the annual District Export Council (DEC) Conference in Washington D.C. from Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke*.

Since 1961 when the "E” Award was first presented the GDP has grown from 5% to 13%. One out of every three jobs depends on exports and imports. "Trade is critical to American prosperity” said Locke during the ceremony, "yet only 59% of all companies export to only one country.”

e award marie award

LEFT: (left to right) Dr. Trevor Gunn, Director, International Relations Washington DC, Gary Locke, Secretary, U. S. Department of Commerce, Bill Hawkins, Chairman, CEO, Medtronic Inc.

RIGHT: Mari McClafferty, former Global Export Compliance Manager at Medtronic initiated the application for the "E” Award. In 2004 Mari received the Medtronic Star of Excellence Quality Award for her Global Export Management Program.

As the awards were presented and the photos taken Secretary Locke asked each company how many countries they export to. Medtronic exports to more than 120 countries as the global leader in the medical device industry living their mission to improve the health of all people in countries worldwide. Locke encouraged businesses to compete anytime, anyplace and anywhere by keeping the playing field level to all business and creating more jobs for Americans.

For a list of the 2009 "E" Award recipients click here.

More about the "E" Award...

  • If you are a manufacturer or service provider that has grown your export sales in the past 4 years - why not apply?
  • The President's "E" Award was created by Executive Order of the President on December 5, 1961, to afford suitable recognition to persons, firms, or organizations which contribute significantly in the effort to increase United States exports. It is the mark of excellence for any firm engaged in exporting their manufactured good or service and for export service providers.


  • During World War II, more than 4,000 "E Pennants" were presented to war plants in recognition of production excellence.
  • The famous flag with the big "E" emblazoned on it became a badge of patriotism in action. President Kennedy revived the World War II "E" symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America's exporters. Thus, the "E" Award Program was established by Executive Order l0978 on December 5, l96l. The "E Star" was authorized in l969 to recognize "E" Award winners for continued efforts in export expansion. Winners of the "E" and "E Star" Award are authorized to fly the blue and white banner, to display the accompanying certificate of commendation which is signed by the Secretary of Commerce in the name and by the authority of the President, to wear and issue to employees an "E" lapel pin, and to refer to the award in their advertising.
  • All "E" Award winners receive a certificate signed in the name and by the authority of the President by Secretary of Commerce, a lapel pin, and a white pennant with a large blue "E" on it to fly over their plant or office.
  • If you are interested in applying for an "E" Award for your company please visit contact the Minnesota US Department of Commerce U. S. Commercial Service Office at Or speak with Mari McClafferty at the next MGTA event.

*His visits are credited with introducing Washington companies to China and helping more than double the state’s exports to China to over $5 billion per year. During the eight years of the Locke Administration, the state gained 280,000 jobs.

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Upcoming Events

December Seminar: Export Management, Part One – Due Diligence

December 15, 2009, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Skyline International Design Center, St. Paul

Export Management, Part One – Due Diligence is the first seminar of a series that will provide you the tools to better your export management process. The program that will teach you the necessary due diligence concepts and practices to help you manage your company’s export control procedures, transactions and decisions. Register Now

Annual Meeting




January 20, 2010, 5:30–9:30 pm
Metropolitan Ballroom, Minneapolis

Don’t miss this great opportunity to celebrate with your peers at the MGTA Annual Meeting & Reception! Register Now

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Global Recession Hits Minneapolis Container Market

by Jason Lloyd, TSC Container Freight

Most carriers servicing the Minneapolis market are faced with fewer imports and a higher than normal demand for export. The peak import season climaxed in October and has been on the decline since. The main reason for the lack of containers is the global recession, a late grain harvest, and the holiday season coming to an end.

Minnesota has been hit with the global recession just as hard as the rest of the world. The decrease in global trade has affected the number of imports coming into Minnesota. Steamship carriers have been forced to reduce costs, leaving inland points such as the Midwest to be less attractive. Carriers are able to keep operating costs down by avoiding any inland charges which oftentimes discourage any importing to the Midwest.

The higher than normal export demand has been contributed largely to a late harvest season. The Midwest has experienced a larger than normal bunker crop in 2009. At the same time many parts of the world faced challenging weather conditions creating a higher demand for U.S. AG commodities. In September and October, farmers experienced heavy rainfalls which kept AG commodities in the ground longer than normal. The container demand is expected to continue into the first part of 2010. It will be some time before Minneapolis has a surplus of containers.

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Country of the Month: Kazakhstan: From 35W to the Great Silk Road

by Jonathan Pixler

Maybe you remember taking a "History of Civilization” class in which your teacher talked about an ancient trade route called the "The Great Silk Road” mentioned by Marco Polo, connecting the Middle Kingdom to the Roman Empire and in which China was a presence in the Central Asian oases and caravan nodes. And maybe even some of you imagined what it would have been like to have come back with the treasures of the Far East. Well today it is no longer a dream but a "reality” as business and trade are booming between the countries of the world and the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan, the 8th largest country in the world, and 2nd largest of the 17 former Soviet Republics. Since its independence in 1990, Kazakhstan has emerged as one of the wealthiest and fastest developing countries in Central Asia, especially when it comes to the export of its natural resources along with the flow of oil and gas through its newly built pipelines. A new "Silk Road” has emerged and business people from all over the world are making their way to Kazakhstan.

In the 10 years that I taught "Business Ethics” and "Philosophy” I experienced firsthand the transformation of a country where once it was hard for me to find the most practical household items, to a country now filled with modern shopping malls, imported cars, and kids walking down the street using cell phones. Trade is alive and well in Kazakhstan and yet like many countries in Central Asia, the greatest hindrance to trade is still that of ingrown corruption and mismanagement. Little has improved since 6 years ago, when the State Service Agency and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) conducted a public opinion survey on the extent of corruption in which on January 29th, 2003 State Service Agency chairman Zatubek Turisbek noted that according to the poll, 90% of Kazakhstan’s citizens said they face corruption on a daily basis, particularly when dealing with state administration departments.

Having experienced the "effects” of this corruption and the attitude towards it, both as an educator and ex-pat, I can tell you first hand it was a real challenge trying to teach my students the importance of "ethical behavior” in business and trade, especially when it came to overcoming the skepticism that ethical business practices can actually work. But despite of the corruption, there still exists a tremendous opportunity to start a business and trade, especially as Kazakhstan is spending millions of dollars to modernize its agriculture sector, improve its health care, and provide individualized financial services, all of which is being fueled by an emerging middle class experiencing increased personal wealth and elevated lifestyles, something virtually undreamed of just over a decade ago. The most successful people are those who choose to be entrepreneurs. A good example this is a colleague of mine just a few years ago who was able to build a profitable business importing children’s playground equipment from the Midwest, virtually non-existent for most children in Kazakhstan just a few years ago, and in turn this allows him to supplement his income along with building his growing travel and document business.

This experience as an educator, gave me a much greater appreciation for what we have here in Minnesota, especially when it comes to promoting "ethical business standards” and the idea that capitalism and "free trade” really works for those willing to work hard and take a chance. For me the greatest trade was that of sharing the "ideas” and "know-how” that I gained here, and in turn having many young people in Kazakhstan share with me their belief that change is not just possible but inevitable in the transformation of their society. I often shared in class, "Everyone wants to do business with an honest man or woman.” In essence, I found lasting treasure, much more valuable than the riches of the Far East, in which I was able to invest my life and time into the lives of young people, and in return I gained many friendships along with a great deal more in the knowledge and joy that comes with seeing changed lives and fresh perspectives.

Have you traveled overseas recently? We want to hear about it! If you've traveled abroad in recent months, please consider sharing your experience with your fellow MGTA members. Contact Mark Toth at to learn more.

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SponsorSpotlight: Zepol

by Kevin Palmstein, Zepol

Who is Zepol:

Zepol is the leading trade intelligence provider to companies around the world. Our products, TradeIQ and TradeView, provide subscription access to U.S. trade data giving users with the most comprehensive information about competitors, suppliers, prospects, and the products that they use, market, or transport.

Our data is received directly from the U.S. government and shows imports at a bill of lading level of detail and both exports and imports at an HTS code level. All members of MGTA can receive a free trial of our services at

Why is Zepol involved in MGTA:

Zepol joined MGTA for a number of reasons. First of all, it keeps us informed about our customers’ industries and the latest issues in the international trade sector. Secondly, although our customers are located around the country and the world, the Twin Cities is where we are headquartered and thusly it is important market for us. MGTA allows us stay connected with the trade community in the Upper Midwest. Finally, MGTA provides the opportunity to give back to the community by volunteering within committees (including Membership and Forums) and participate in important networking events.

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MGTA Featured Volunteer: Mary Jo Stangl

Mary Jo Stangl, International Education Advisor, Minnesota Trade Office, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Q: How long have you been involved in global trade and what brought you to this industry?
A: Way back when…I was invited by my employer, to volunteer to take the performers from the Moscow Circus on Ice on a bus tour of Minneapolis — my introduction to the "world of international.” It was quite mysterious then! Following that, I created a hospitality program for another employer for international trainees, many of whom, from Asia, had never spent time away from home. These experiences began to shape my career as a generalist – identifying needs and working to create solutions. Today, as International Education Advisor for the Minnesota Trade Office (MTO), we work with Minnesota’s businesses to develop information resources and educational solutions for their exporting needs.

Q: How long have you been a volunteer with the MGTA?
A: About five years ago, one of the "lucky-days” in my life happened when my new employer, a MGTA co-sponsor, invited me to volunteer for MGTA’s Education Committee. For a humble generalist, this was a very fortunate event.

Q: How has volunteering with the MGTA helped you in your professional development?
A: It’s an easy thing to do, building relationships with folks who are guests in your community, but learning how to deal with the nuances of international trade is quite another matter. I concluded quickly that the processes and regulations of international trade could at times be complex. Working with the MGTA Education Committee, enabled me to build direct connections to resources of information, actually people with buckets and buckets of information, that they are willing to share providing support for the Minnesota business community. And the benefits I derive by being able to attend the education programs, make the experience invaluable.

Q: What have been some of the highlights of your volunteer experience with MGTA?
A: You know, we have jobs, we work, and generally these environments are very well defined. With MGTA, volunteers have opportunities to create and implement solutions out of the realm of normal duties, continually adding and enhancing one’s databank of skills.

In 2007, the Education committee organized a tour of international resources available at the DEED and JJ Hill libraries. The format was unique and fun for the organizers and even more fun for the participants. One of those participants, a long-time supporter of the MGTA and MTO education programs, shook my hand and proclaimed that he’d enjoyed that tour’s educational component as an experience he would long remember.

Q: What is one of your most interesting trade experiences?
A: During 1993, I was the consulting trainer for a series of business education workshops in Eastern Europe. One of the concepts, the instructors (subject-matter-experts) introduced was said to have originated in England. However, the participants reported to me they knew something to the contrary. During that evening, we reworked and adapted the workshop to fit the paradigm of the situation, making it one of the most highly-rated workshops in our series. This sort of flexibility goes a long way in developing relationships and enhancing the exchange of learning.

Q: What unique qualities about you make you a wonderful volunteer?
A: I just do what comes naturally. For a while, I lived on an island where volunteerism is everything – three committees minimum. One day – back for a visit, I took a walk down the mile of the main street stopping to visit with old friends and meet a couple of new ones. By the time I finished that walk, I’d helped three people make connections to others that resulted in better outcomes for their affairs. That was volunteering! We do it every day and organizations like MTGA facilitate and formalize those experiences.

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Featured Member Benefit

The MGTA member directory is the most sophisticated search tool to find trade professionals in our area. It is an easy reference to identify your colleagues in a variety of industry specialties and positions. Search by name, organization, company type, and more. If you have not already done so, make sure to update your profile online to help you connect with other members in your area of expertise.

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Welcome New MGTA Members!

The MGTA gains its strength as the leading organization to enhance the international business opportunities as we expand the reach of our membership. Now with well over 500 members, we proudly welcome the following individuals who have become a part of the MGTA:

Brian Curran
Christine Rehm
James Anderson

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A Harmonized (Tariff) Christmas

by Tyler Brown, Office of Export Compliance, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

For this analysis, we assumed that the Lords, Ladies, maids, and entertainers are not performing defense services. Articles and material would appear to all be EAR99. Dealing only with the associated hardware, I propose the following HTS designations:

Twelve drummers drumming: 9206.00.20 00 - Percussion musical instruments (for example, drums, xylophones, cymbals, castanets,
maracas): Drums

Eleven pipers piping: 9205.90.20.60 - Woodwind instruments:
Flutes and piccolos (except bamboo)

Ten lords 'a-leaping: Since there are no hereditary Lords in the U.S., the Country of Origin of the Lords would need to be specified, and the leaping activity subjected to an analysis as to whether it constitutes a defense service.

Nine ladies dancing: See above.

Eight maids a-milking: Given a modern interpretation: 8434.10.00.00 - Milking machines and dairy machinery, and parts thereof: Milking machines

Seven swans a-swimming: 0106.39.00.00 - Birds: Other

Six geese a-laying: (Assume the geese weigh over 185 gms.) 0105.99.00.00 - Live poultry of the following kinds: Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas: Other, Other

Five golden rings: Note: 9. For the purposes of heading 7113, the expression "articles of jewelry" means: (a) Any small objects of personal adornment (for example, rings, bracelets, necklaces, broaches, earnings, watch chains, fobs, pendants, tie pins, cuff links, dress studs, religious or other medals and insignia); 7113.19.50.00 - Of other precious metal, whether or not plated or clad with precious metal: Other, other.

Four calling birds: Today when people sing that song they usually sing about calling birds. But actually many years ago they sang the song's old English words. They sang about colly, or collie, birds. Colly or collie means black, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation. It comes from an old word for coal. The Internet Wikipedia pins down colly bird even more: to the European blackbird. Common in parks and cities in Europe, it looks like a dusky version of its cousin, the American robin. Both belong to the thrush family. Like all thrushes, they sing (or call) beautifully. 0106.39.00.00 - Birds: Other

Three French hens: Live poultry of the following kinds: Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas: Chickens, Weighing not more than 185 g: 0105.11.00; Breeding stock, whether or not purebred: 10 Layer-type (egg-type), 20 Broiler-type (meat-type), 40 Other; Chickens, Weighing more than 185 g: 0105.94.00.00 (We actually spent some time worrying about whether the "French Hens" might be a re-export...)

Two turtle doves: 0106.39.00.00 - Birds: Other

A partridge in a pear tree: 0106.39.00.00 - Birds: Other; 0602.20.00.00 - Trees, shrubs and bushes, grafted or not, of kinds which bear edible fruit or nuts.

And remember, any Christmas ornamentation falls under 950510: Festive, carnival, or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof: Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof.

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Thank you Newsletter Sponsor:

Neville Peterson LLP

2009 Annual Sponsors:


BremerCH RobinsonHMMLogistics Planning ServicesTrade Acceptance GroupUS BankZepol

© 2009 Midwest Global Trade Association. All Rights Reserved.
World Trader is distributed bi-monthly to MGTA members.
Articles submitted by our membership do not express the views of MGTA or the Board of Directors. If you would like to submit an article for publication in the World Trader, please contact the MGTA office at

Midwest Global Trade Association
1000 Westgate Drive, Ste. 252 | St. Paul, MN 55114
p 651.290.7482 | f 651.290.2266 | |

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