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NDTO News Article

2024 Global Business Connections Conference Recap

On May 15, the North Dakota Trade Office hosted the 2024 Global Business Connections conference in West Fargo. The conference brought in nearly 100 attendees and 16 speakers—many of whom were international guests. The day saw a number of highlights, including a fireside chat with Ambassador Terry Branstad and the presentation of the 2023 Global Business Awards by Governor Doug Burgum.

Read on for more about the conference.



Following an insightful keynote discussion between Ambassador Branstad and the Greater North Dakota Chamber’s Liz Markham, breakout sessions began with “Market Spotlight: The Nordic Region” and “Digital Fortitude: Strengthening Cybersecurity in an Interconnected World.”

Minna LeVine and Tana Torrano of the Nordic Business Council delved into the hidden complexities of the Nordic nations’ international trade cooperation and markets. Meanwhile, Roger Gussiaas, President of Healthy Oilseeds joined Kyle Emmel, a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst, to examine the very prominent threat cyber-attacks pose to North Dakota businesses.

Later in the morning, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver, Bill S.C. Huang, gave a brilliant presentation on Taiwanese relations during “Market Spotlight: Taiwan.” While Wendy Pease’s “Connecting Across Cultures for Success” was similarly stimulating, with a slew of beneficial information aimed at helping exporters better understand their clients and themselves in the greater context of the world.

Consul General of Canada in Minneapolis, Beth Richardson, took to the main stage for a brief and enlightening message following the 2023 Global Business Awards. The remainder of the afternoon was occupied by two outstanding panels. The first was “USMCA: Perspective from Our Partners” with Deputy Ambassador Arun Alexander of the Embassy of Canada and Miguel Molina Alcantara of the Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul. Alexander Hall, Director of North Dakota and Northwestern Minnesota for the U.S. Commercial Service moderated.

The second panel, “Global Agility: Adapting to and Overcoming International Business Challenges,” brought together professionals from across the state. Panelists included Paige Kuntz of the Office of Legal Immigration, Mark Lyman of the Minot Area Chamber EDC, and Brian Nowicki of BMO. Kermit Nash of Saul Ewing LLC moderated.


The 2023 Global Business Awards

Governor Burgum presented the Global Business Awards before the afternoon’s panels. The winners included Fargo Jet Center as 2023 Exporter of the Year, Praxis Africa as the 2023 Service to Exporters provider, and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring as the 2023 NDTO Global Ambassador. NDTO’s Jiwon Kim earned special recognition for his 15 years of service at NDTO and his exceptional work as our Director of Global Business Development.

You can read more about the honorees and their work here.


Riddle of the Exporter

More fun was to be had on May 16. Trade expert Elyse Eriksson spent the day teaching new and experienced exporters the ins-and-outs of international trade.

Topics included market research, market entry, legal, compliance, transportation, payments/financing, and cultural consideration, all as they pertain to imports and exports. Elyse also went in-depth on Incoterms, export documentation, and payments. Participants were encouraged to interact with one another and engage with the material, all while expanding their knowledge of the export process.


The 2024 Global Business Connections conference was an unequivocal success. North Dakota exporters and entrepreneurs got to learn from some of the greatest minds in global trade, all while networking and building their base of partnerships. We look forward to next year’s Global Business Awards Luncheon.



The NDTO would like to thank the sponsors of this conference: Bremer Bank, Saul Ewing, Cota Systems, Praxis Africa, and Valley Worldwide Logistics Solutions. We would also like to extend this thanks to our astounding speakers and attendees for whom this conference would not have been possible without, as well as the DoubleTree – Hilton staff and Livewire Entertainment.