Member Profile: Healthy Oilseeds

Member Profile: Healthy Oilseeds

Posted on December 3, 2020

Twenty-three countries and still counting, says Roger Gussiaas, owner of Healthy Oilseeds. We virtually sat down with Gussiaas and his sister and Sales Associate, Karen Gussiaas-Smith, for insights on their exporting success and their passion for Healthy Oilseeds and its products.

The Gussiaas' have been farming for several generations, but Healthy Oilseeds itself started in 2002. "Every business has a story, and often it is the unique people that make those stories come to life," Karen says, and Roger jokes, "and Karen loves stories, but it really has made a difference to tell our story." The story of Healthy Oilseeds has a lively spirit full of passion and a drive to do better. Rogers' son, Brock Gussiaas, passed away unexpectedly in 2014. "Brock is the heart of the company. He had a business mind, loved his work, loved working with dad, and to see the progress of seeds all the way to the finished product," says Karen.  Roger adds, "His heart and soul are still with this company. It drives this company to do better… he is with us every day, helping us overcome difficult things." This passion is present in everything Healthy Oilseeds does.

The company has grown to reach 23 countries worldwide, and with this momentum, they keep looking for more opportunities to expand. Healthy Oilseeds has employees from Kazakhstan, Moldova, Spain, and Columbia who are quintessential to doing business overseas and understanding each market's intricacies. Roger's wife, Nurgul, originally from Kazakhstan, is an integral part of the company working with the third-party Primus food safety certification. She is also vital in the day-to-day operations, from working in the office to operating a forklift to ensure shipments make it all over the world.

When asked how Healthy Oilseeds got into exporting, Roger replied that there were only two ways to gain wealth for an area, "that is tourism or exporting. We didn't think tourism would work well in Carrington.  I thought exporting might bring in more dollars, so, we started exporting in 2002." Roger and Karen's father was always impressed by exporters, and Brock saw the potential as well. With those two inventive spirits and Roger's drive, Healthy Oilseeds has had abundant success exporting.

The Gussiaas family has grown more than 25 different crops over the years and have taken each as a learning experience. They lean more towards specialized crops with ND grown flaxseed, hempseed, and borage rather than corn and soybeans. The company has achieved Primus Global Food Safety Certification, Certified Organic, and Kosher to ensure their products are superior in quality. They want to ensure transparency and let consumers know exactly what they are purchasing to build trust in Healthy Oilseeds' products.

The company started growing hempseed in 2016, as another very healthy oilseed, and it would complement the processing and marketing of flaxseed. Healthy Oilseeds' presses for oil are now running 24/7 for hempseed and other oils. The benefits of hempseeds are not only seen in humans, but also help horse owners remedy some common problems including digestion, skin ailments, and overall joint health of horses. Beyond edible seeds and oils, there is an increasing demand, (especially with the quality certifications) for ingredients in environmentally friendly cosmetics, skincare, soaps, and even artistic paints.

Karen, a former family and consumer science teacher, spoke about the impact of going on trade missions and what a great experience it is. "These opportunities just open our eyes to the whole world of how food comes to our tables, that something in ND can make a difference globally. I taught farm to table lessons, but now with this global perspective, it shows me how North Dakota can grow food the whole world needs." Exporting can open new opportunities globally, and some of the best ways to do that, Karen says, is to explore, go on a trade mission, meet people, and see how your company can impact more broadly. "There are more market opportunities if you look beyond your borders and your products can often be sold at higher prices," Roger points out.  Although it has its own challenges, getting into exporting can be a very rewarding experience with the right team and passion guiding you, both Roger and Karen agree.

Roger has a reputation for giving back and doing what it takes to get the job done. He firmly believes in passing down knowledge. He says, "It feels good to share, and we all lack knowledge in one way or another. Everyone needs help, and we all have to give back. We all take it, so we have to give it too." Karen highlights, "when I see Roger present at conferences or talk to others, I am impressed by all those who look up to him and how many people go to him for advice. She describes an excellent farmer in central ND that Roger helped with his harvest this fall. Roger pitched in and went to help with the harvest because that is what needed to get done. Roger also appreciates the opportunity to experience combining of hemp since it can be a challenging crop to harvest.

The company continues its local engagement with a University of Jamestown marketing group, an internship with a Concordia College student, and even a high-school student who all offer their talents and get real-world experience. "They tell us when things are working… we can learn a lot from young people. Especially the direction of the consumer," says Roger. He emphasizes that the younger generations will determine the consumers' wants and Healthy Oilseeds benefits from seeing what the younger generations like, what they are interested in. "It's fun to see the energy and enthusiasm of youth. Then you are connected to see where their lives go. As a teacher, I love working with young people and seeing them grow!" adds Karen. The students they work with have great ideas and point them in new directions on how to engage with different generations, what things should look like, or how they expect them to work. Healthy Oilseeds places a high value on young voices and loves to tap into the passion that many have for life.

What's next for Healthy Oilseeds? Well, country twenty-four, of course! They have been lucky with low impact from the coronavirus on their business and look forward to new opportunities in the Caribbean and maybe even New Zealand.

Let’s Keep Exporting, ND

Let’s Keep Exporting, ND

Posted on December 3, 2020

Funding available for virtual missions, shows, and introductions.

The North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) has funding available for your exporting business, both travel and non-travel options. As we all continue to navigate through this challenging environment, NDTO is here to help.  We fund export opportunities through STEP ND from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Specialty Crop Block Grants from the ND Department of Agriculture.

Meeting new contacts and making new connections are pillars to exporting. While the way we do business has been reimagined, there are still many ways to keep business flowing. Everything is going virtual, as I am sure you have noticed, and so has our funding. Many more virtual opportunities are now available, and our programs have been updated to serve you better. Approved projects now include virtual trade missions, virtual introductions, virtual trade shows, and Gold Key services.

Virtual Opportunities

Virtual Trade Shows: These can be great spaces, literally, virtual spaces that you can create a booth with marketing materials, signs, posters, videos, and literature available for potential buyers. Your company will have the ability to interact with many different participants, show-goers and often virtually walk around or visit other booths throughout the show. It’s a bit like walking through a videogame.

Virtual Trade Missions: Trade missions are a more focused approach to business with pre-screened potential buyers and sellers matched with similar interests and industries. Typically, there are multiple face-to-face meetings scheduled with specific buyers from one region or location. Interpreters can be made available if needed. This setup provides several opportunities to get to know each other, ask questions, and present your products in a more targeted approach.

Virtual Introductions: With a virtual introduction, you are provided with a direct introduction to a potential buyer after research and selection have been completed and agreed upon by both parties. NDTO can assist with virtual introductions and market research to connect your company with meaningful contacts. Introductions are a direct approach to meeting with a specific person with the intent of building a relationship.  

USCS Gold Key Services: The US Commercial Services Gold Key service provides up to five pre-screened appointments with sales representatives, business partners, and local entities in a chosen country. There are a variety of options and pricing available with these services that can be found here.


There are many benefits to taking a virtual approach, and as
the technology gets even better, the value of these interactions will increase

  • Time will be one of the largest benefits; no need to have key employees traveling across the globe for weeks. With a targeted approach, there is a specific time commitment.
  • Exploration, for a relatively low-cost, a variety of countries and companies can be engaged to understand their interest in what your company may have to offer. Take this as an opportunity to explore and learn more about other markets.
  • Focused priorities while not spending hours on a variety of potential buyers. Some virtual options provide a targeted approach to meetings, and objectives allowing you to focus on those key issues.
  • Expenses with virtual options are lower compared to physical travel options. Many of these opportunities can be made more affordable with the available grant funding from the NDTO.
  • Building relationships in a virtual setting will jumpstart any in-person meetings for the future. Creating rapport before traveling to the new market will go a long way to making meaningful progress in business dealings.

Funding Available

The NDTO has funding available for the activities mentioned above, and we would be happy to assist in keeping your exports moving. The funding depends on product type, and business eligibility determined by guidelines from the Small Business Administration or ND Department of Agriculture. The eligible projects are reimbursable at 75%, with the company buy-in at 25%. With STEP funding, the cap of five activities has been removed to aid utilization. For more information and to connect with our team, please reach out to and review NDTO grant opportunities here.

Although none of these options is truly is better than
meeting face-to-face, these virtual interactions are the first steps to forging
new bonds and making new connections that may eventually lead to sales. There
will come a time when an in-person meeting will need to happen, and when it
does, you will not have to start the relationship from scratch. With so many
virtual opportunities available, NDTO is happy to help support your endeavor to
keep meeting people, keep moving your business forward, and continue working
towards your export goals.

Researching Your Way to Market Expansion

Researching Your Way to Market Expansion

Posted on December 3, 2020

For any company growing and expanding into new markets, it can bring up all kinds of feelings from apprehension to zeal! The potential of new opportunities can bring about great new connections and increased success if done with intention.

To expand your business into new markets, we have put together a few items to keep in mind as you investigate future opportunities. Expansion can come in all shapes and sizes; maybe it adds another product line to your business or sells your products to a whole new country!

The First thing to consider when expanding into new markets is what you want to accomplish. Are you wanting to create a new type of product, get into a new or similar industry, or reach beyond your usual borders?  With these questions answered, development of an export plan can begin, and then move forward in exploration and research opportunities.

Research is the most important step in determining the next move for expansion. There are many services, data, and statistical analysis tools at little to no cost that might provide insights into initial market opportunities. The decisions here must be made with data in mind. Often, we want to find some untapped market or hidden gem that no one has discovered to help the company break out into unfathomable success. These dreams need to be supported by good solid research,  discipline, and reliable data.

Once there are some options for ideal markets or locations with good potential for your business to thrive, it is time to do a little more research. Narrow down your vision and get into the specifics of what products, ideas, or details are needed to succeed in one of those markets. Now, it might be the time to connect with a consultant or paid service to help define your market and vision that is right for your company. These types of services can have access to in-depth research, data, regional expertise, and experience to guide you into the future.

Harvard Business Review's Growth Outside the Core recaps some of Nike's efforts in business expansion through a variety of markets, with new customers, geographic, and products. "The first time Nike did this, it undoubtedly struggled with the inherent complexity of making so many moves, but as it repeated the process again and again, managers learned to execute consistently." Not that all companies are Nike, but the process is much the same, looking at various angles and determining what may yield a successful outcome. Keep in mind that businesses are not successful on their first or even fifth attempt at market expansion, which is why the research is so important. In the Harvard Business Review study, there were more than 1800 companies reviewed for their expansion efforts over five years. The two things that all of them had in common were good foundational research and discipline to their mission.

Finding that new market is only half the battle as market expansion is two-sided. Now, convincing the new market that your company is a good fit,  is a whole other challenge. With this new market in mind, updates can be made to begin the courting process. It may be wise to work with a cultural consultant, the US Commercial Service, or website localization companies to assist with approaching this new market to make your business more attractive. Highlighting that you can do business with this market, translate your website or some pages into the preferred language, or showcase new services that are hand-selected to fit. Any effort made to feature the new market is going to show interest and readiness for expansion.

Discipline comes into play again, as the first attempts may be unsuccessful, keep researching, meeting contacts, and finding the sweet spot for your products. By jumping around from idea to idea and market to market, it becomes challenging to put down any roots and make a real impact.

There is an assortment of resources for you to explore as you start to develop a plan for expanding your business. A great place to start is for many North Dakota companies is Rural America's Intelligence Service for Exporter (RAISE), as part of the US Commercial Service, this program works specifically with exporters to identify niche markets, export opportunities, and preparations for expansion.  There are many local development organizations in your area with resources for business growth. The NDTO also has years of exporting experience to help you with research, connections, translation services, and many opportunities for grant funding are available.

At the NDTO, we work side-by-side with companies to develop export plans, conduct research, potential buyers, and make market connections that work for you. There are also opportunities for trade missions (live and virtual), educational opportunities, network, and overall advocacy for exporters with membership.  Feel free to reach out at

Japanese Consul General visits Western North Dakota

Dustin Willett (center) gives a tour to Consul General Okada (right) at Red Trail Energy

Japanese Consul General visits Western North Dakota

Posted on November 19, 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. - Japanese Consul General Kenichi Okada and two members of the Consul from the Economic Section are visiting western North Dakota this week to re-cement collaboration with the state. Hosted by the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO), the delegation met with Gov. Doug Burgum, state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, and Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms.

"It has been a pleasure to reconnect with our Japanese partners and highlight the many opportunities North Dakota has for cooperation with Japan. We look forward to continuing to strengthen the relationship between our governments, businesses and citizens and identifying mutually beneficial opportunities for the future," Burgum said.

In addition to the meeting with state leaders, the delegation visited the Red Trail Energy ethanol plant, met with Dickinson State University President Steven Easton and faculty, toured the North Dakota oil patch, and discussed unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology with key providers. Drew Combs, the executive director of the NDTO, led the Japanese delegation across western North Dakota to explore best practices in energy, breakthroughs in environmental technology, and opportunities for direct investment that North Dakota has to offer. Showcasing the various industries in North Dakota increases the synergy and builds upon the already strong ties between Japan and North Dakota. The delegation plans to visit eastern North Dakota for a fuller picture of the state's versatility in the future.

In 2019, trade between Japan and the United States totaled $217 billion, and U.S. exports totaled $74 billion, making Japan the fourth-largest export market for the United States. For North Dakota, exports to Japan in 2019 totaled $37 million. The top export categories from North Dakota to Japan in 2019 included oil seeds, miscellaneous grains, and seeds (51.57%); aircraft and spacecraft equipment and parts (17.12%); nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, and mechanical equipment (9.47%); and cereal grains (6.53%).

The NDTO has continued to shape relationships with our Japanese friends, completing trade missions and reverse trade missions focused on value-added agriculture and energy. The NDTO looks forward to embracing this relationship more fully in the future with hopes of a trade mission to Japan in the spring of 2021. A trade mission to Japan was initially planned for the fall of 2020 but was postponed due to the global pandemic.


Leadership Lessons

Leadership Lessons

Posted on November 11, 2020

Each week I like to inspire my team with leadership lessons I have been given along the way. This week with celebrating the 245th year of the Marine Corps (November 10, 1775) and Veterans Day upon us, I shared the following lesson:

I believe that leadership is an extremely important component to success in life and business. I know that I rely on the military and my experiences in the Marine Corps often and know that some of you may question why I do this. The simple answer is that I believe that the military is one of the greatest institutions in developing and testing one’s leadership ability. You are already leaders, and I hope that these discussions will help in honing your leadership skills.

Annually, on November 10th, the US Marine Corps family celebrates and reflects on being part of an organization that takes great pride in being part of something bigger than the individual. Excellence in leadership is the hallmark of a Marine. In difficult times, I often refer to the acronym “JJ DID TIE BUCKLE.” The acronym refers to the 14 leadership traits of a Marine, “Justice, Judgement, Dependability, Initiative, Decisiveness, Tact, Integrity, Enthusiasm, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, Loyalty, and Endurance.”

A favorite memory is studying for a meritorious promotions board with my Corporal, Sergeant, x2 Staff Sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant, and Lieutenant, all sitting on the top of an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) at “O-dark-thirty”, in the well deck of a ship, cruising somewhere in the Pacific. At this session, after a particularly grueling day, they worked with me for hours to ensure that I was prepared. I distinctly remember going over and over the “JJ acronym,” but what I remember most is how all these Marines were putting into practice what they were imparting. The next day I was tired, nervous, and yes, a little scared, but that study session propelled me into that room with an attitude of wanting to make those leaders proud.

If you are curious, I did well and was quite shocked when I reported to the board and saw that two of my examiners had been atop that AAV helping me practice! I stood my ground and answered every question the board threw at me to the best of my ability. Little did I know, my lesson in leadership was not over. Before being dismissed, I overheard my Lieutenant thank the ranking officer “for doing this,” and I was asked to send in one of the Marines waiting by the hatch. That Marine was selected for promotion. I would later learn that my unit was not allocated a promotion slot and that I had been ineligible for promotion all along. My Leaders thought it would be a good learning experience for me and to acknowledge that I had been doing a good job and had asked for a “mock” examination to be conducted.  Mission accomplished! It was one heck of a learning experience and one that I will never forget! At the end of the day, I didn’t care that I wasn't pinning on a new stripe. What mattered to me the most is that I made my leadership team proud, and they had thought enough of me to invest the time and effort.

I appreciate the many lessons I have learned over the years and I am eternally grateful. Happy Birthday, Marines!

Best regards and Semper Fidelis,

Drew Combs

The First Intermodal Rail Service Comes to Minot, North Dakota

The First Intermodal Rail Service Comes to Minot, North Dakota

Posted on November 5, 2020

Minot, ND welcomes the first intermodal rail service in North Dakota this October. This is an intermodal project for ND has been in the making for twenty years. The benefits of intermodal rail service for the state mean a 15-25% reduction in shipping costs for moving goods to international ports with a smoother hands-off approach. Gov. Doug Burgum touts this as a "game-changer" for ND by allowing processors, manufactures, and producers to load standardized containers directly on to railcars in Minot and ship them internationally.

What is Intermodal Freight?

Intermodal transportation is a way to transport goods using multiple modes of transportation (rail, trucking, or sea) without repackaging goods to different containers based on the type of transport used. Reducing handling of goods, users will see the increased speed in moving freight, reduction in potential damage, and with less handling comes a lower overall cost.

Intermodal in ND

Overall, with the vastness of ND, there are supply challenges with having containers available for transport. The movement of enough goods in and out of the region from a specific point such as Minot will determine the operation's success.

In 2010, an intermodal-type transfer facility opened in Minot, ND, with a primary focus on loading and unloading oil-related products, as well as large volumes of agricultural goods. The ND Port Service operated the transfer facility with a container yard. This is where the new rail services will operate. The previous facility was not considered intermodal but a multimodal operation—the differentiation being how the goods need repacking according to the shipping method. Repacking also utilized more workforce than an intermodal approach.

The ongoing struggle to increase the shipping of ND goods has been a collaborative effort.  The ND Port Service, which is no longer in operation, made many attempts to secure transportation on the West Coast, making shipping containers plentiful for ND processors and producers, but ultimately could not find success due to financial troubles.

The ND Trade Office launched the ND Intermodal Initiative (NDII) in 2014, working with the ND Department of Agriculture, ND Departmnet of Commerce and the ND Port Services to understand the state's needs better.

New access to more competitively priced transportation will help ND businesses more effectively move their products bound for international markets. The new service will reduce the backtracking that many shipments make by going to Minneapolis first.  Often shipments headed to the West Coast for overseas sales are trucked east to Minneapolis only to be loaded on railcars shipped back westward for their international destinations.

The New York-based company Rail Modal Group (RMG) will operate the 135 acre facility, shipping out rail cars westward to the US's largest ports. RMG manages two similar operations in Nebraska and Texas with BNSF railways. Moving goods directly west will reduce shipping times across the country direct to West Coast ports, specifically Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. “They (Minot) had a beautiful ramp and facility built in a great location just sitting there, so it is a good opportunity for RMG” says Monica Oberting, Vice President for External Affairs for RMG. She highlighted the warm welcome they have received in ND and the rewarding experience it has been to hire many local employees, and their plans on adding more staff to the team in Minot.

The first empty containers arrived in Minot on October 13th and will leave filled with ND goods in the upcoming weeks. RMG focuses more on agricultural goods which is welcomed in ND, with companies already supporting the line with pulses, edible beans, and specialty grain products. This rail service is a new option for producers, manufactures, and processors to move their goods more effctively. RMG Minot is optimistic in its weekly train service and plans to maintain the stability and consistency needed for success. The flow of shipping containers required to maintain the rail has been historically difficult, and ensuring that enough empty shipping containers are available, and enough full shipping containers are leaving makes the rail service logistics a challenge. Oberting says their goal in five years is to have three trains going through Minot on a weekly basis. Additionally, they plan to increase the storage facility overtime.

With anticipation for the many new opportunities for ND ahead, Drew Combs, NDTO Executive Director, says, "In ND, the agricultural producers will most certainly benefit from this new service. We also see great benefits for all other ND industries, including manufacturing. Opening up Minot for intermodal service creates a direct connection with our Asian trading partners and a more cost-effective means to provide ND products."

In 2019 more than $114 million in goods were exported to Asian countries from ND. While this number has fluctuated over time, primary export types include machinery and parts ($33 million), as well as agriculture products such as soybeans ($25 million). ND companies also have opportunities in aircraft parts and other agriculture products in grains and cereals.

This project has come to fruition with the cooperation of many entities over the years, including the ND Governor's Office, ND Congressional Delegation, private industry,  ND Legislators, the ND Trade Office, ND Departments of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, City of Minot, and the Minot Area Development Corporation.

Shipping History

The idea of intermodal transport and the versatile containers are nowhere near new, as it has been practiced in England predating both rail and motorized vehicles. Wooden pallets are considered a type of intermodal containers making an appearance in WWII as an easier way to transport goods from warehouses to trucks, trains, ships, and aircraft.

Standardization of the containers became vital, as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) became involved to standardize containers for multiple modes of transportation. Now known as ISO containers, they have standardized dimensions in three sizes with several variations.

The rising use of standardized containers grew steadily from the 1960s onward. According to the Association of American Railroads, intermodal rail traffic tripled from the 1980s to the 2000s.  Additional ingenuity in the stacking, securing, and mechanization around transporting these containers has continually improved the process for more efficient, effective, reliable, and secure transportation of goods.

As we look forward, the ND intermodal operation is a meaningful step towards opening our eastern trading partners' doors. For ND, it will increase the ability to ship across the country more efficiently, and there is potential for an uptick in overall access to ND goods. That access could mean more jobs and more opportunities for increased production throughout the state in a variety of industries. More to come on this exciting time for trade in ND.

2020 Incoterms® Updates and What You Need to Know

2020 Incoterms® Updates and What You Need to Know

Posted on November 5, 2020

On January 1, 2020, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) updated its Incoterms®.  This widely used set of rules outlines buyers' and sellers' responsibilities for the transportation of goods.  The 11 Incoterms® are defined and modernized for the update, and a few have new names.  Some of the most noticeable features include increased specificity for terms,  updated layout, improved usability, and glossary changes.

What are They?

The term Incoterms® is an abbreviation for 'International Commercial Terms,' an idea first conceived in 1921 by the ICC and made its way into practice by 1936. There have been several iterations of  Incoterms® rules, with updates roughly every ten years. The rules outline the delivery of goods under contracts of sales for both the buyer and sellers. The Incoterms® act as only a part of an overall sales contract but can guide many of the provisions for handling, payment, documents, and other aspects of the sale itself.

There are three parts of moving goods: the seller to port, port to port, and port to the buyer. The terms define what happens in each of these legs. Who pays for what, who arranges each leg, and who has ownership of the goods if they are compromised. Below is a brief breakdown of the terms, their meanings, and which mode of transportation is applicable.

How are They Used?

Incoterms® are voluntary, but all major trading nations have implemented Incoterms® as a recognized standard set of rules for goods movement. Keep in mind, they are only part of the exporting contract.

The use of the terms can be integrated into purchasing contracts.  Depending on the term used, a specific flow of goods and liability is made clear to each party. Four of the eleven terms, deal with only shipping by sea as the mode of transportation (as noted above). Be sure the term chosen is right for each sale, which may be different from sale to sale. The correct or incorrect term can impact many things from price of transportation, insurance, timing, and place of delivery. For some horror stories and advice on real-world examples, Roy Becker, an international banker and educator on exporting, offers many great resources and opportunities for companies to gain more knowledge on Incoterms® and many other exporting topics.  

The ICC has a free wallchart available for download. It visually displays the ownership and process of goods transfers and is available in the resources below.  

2020 Updates

The official 2020 Incoterms® resources are located on the ICC's website. The updating process has gone through a committee of international businesspeople from 13 different countries, all weighing in on the new text. The language itself has been written in Europe; American readers will find stylistic terms for a European audience.  Frank Reynolds, who participated in crafting the 2020 updates, has also revised his book "Incoterms® Rules for Americans" as a companion text.

The 2020 differences include:

  • DAT (Delivered at Terminal) is updated to DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded)- Further clarification of the intent to deliver and unload the goods was added, which does not need to be a "terminal" specifically.
  • FCA (Free Carrier) – The seller is responsible for ensuring the goods are on the buyer's transportation. Updates allow buyers to instruct carriers to issue a bill of lading with on-board notations on behalf of the seller.  The seller does not have to deliver goods to an 'international' carrier specifically, but the buyers' carrier as agreed upon.
  • CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to) – The seller is responsible for the insurance, but the updates now require insurance coverage to comply with Clauses (A) of institute cargo clauses. This clause has a higher level of insurance (110% of the goods' value) than the CIF requirements of Clause (C).
  • Overall term updates allow additional modes of transportation/carriers available for the movement of goods and recognize that a third-party carrier does not have to be used. Some sellers choose to transport the goods themselves, and the modernization of these terms allows for more flexibility in the method of transport.
  • There are many updates to security requirements throughout for goods, cash, and documents.
  • Customs Clearance – the language of responsibility (buyer or seller) for clearing customs is more specifically defined. This may impact liability and ownership as good pass through customs completely before ownership is transferred.
  • The layout of the book is updated to be more user-friendly. The responsibility of the buyers and sellers are matched in a cohesive order. The glossary is also updated.

Tip and Considerations

When choosing and using Incoterms®, there are many other factors to keep in mind as you supply sales contracts, be sure to consider the following tips.

  • Incoterms® will not outline prices, payment methods, or ownership of goods. They should be used in tandem with a larger purchasing agreement/contract.
  • Make sure to outline the place and port specifically.
  • Incoterms® do not override any mandatory laws.
  • Be conscientious of what paperwork is needed for the sale and who controls those documents related to the shipping method. Try to keep as much control as necessary to obtain documents required for payment.
  • While you can still use the 2010 terms, if you choose to do so, make sure that it is explicitly noted in the contracts which version of the Incoterms® is utilized.

With the new Incoterms® in practice since January 1, 2020, there is typically 1-2 years of acclimation and adoption of the updates. There are many opportunities to learn more. Keep an eye out for upcoming training the 2020 Incoterms® with the North Dakota Trade Office. We are happy to assist with exporting information, but the above details are not meant as legal advice.


Do you Want to Even  Learn More?

International Chamber of Commerce

Roy Becker Seminars

Incoterms® 2020 Practical Free Wallchart

Incoterms® Rules for Americans by Frank Reynolds

Know Your Incoterms® at

Member Profile: CH Trade

Member Profile: CH Trade

Posted on November 5, 2020

Eastern Europe, Russia, Siberia, and back! We just caught up with Nick Butze, Vice President of International Business at CH Trade. Butze explains that these are great business markets for the North Dakota companies they represent. CH Trade, named after owner Chris Harris, came to fruition as Harris built an extensive network of international business contacts throughout the world in his previous positions. CH Trade builds off its global network of contacts and exporting experience to work as an international sales arm for companies they represent. Many of the companies they represent are involved in agricultural manufacturing and other machinery based equipment, with other companies engaged in firearms and hockey equipment.

Butze was talked out of pursuing a law degree to join CH Trade and has not looked back. "I could be pushing a lot of paper as a lawyer right now. This is much more interesting," he says. The Russian and Brazilian markets were his first challenge in developing connections. These markets have been historically problematic. But, he prevailed. Slowly yet surely, he set up distribution centers, dealerships and built-up a reliable network to assist North Dakota companies.

With a variety of services, CH Trade can assist in all areas, from business planning up to full operations of an international business department. As an international sales department, Ch Trade will take on business duties such as accounts payable, sales, banking, logistics, service, spare parts, and global marketing. For their firearms business, CH Trade has taken on the licensing and regulations involved for this exporting business, which can be challenging to manage. They are a full-service export provider.

Dedication is a pillar of CH Trade's business. Butze calls himself a 'road warrior,' traveling many weeks out of the year to coordinate with overseas partners and dealerships. This work includes; ensuring operations are going well, host training, and demonstrating products to potential buyers.

Going out to the dealerships/distributors has been a great way to build trust and consistency, especially in times of uncertainly. "So many people like to have that face-to-face interaction and to be in front of products. There is no good substitute for traveling to customers and giving them the needed attention to be successful. And we are doing that," says Butze describing recent trips overseas, ensuring everything is operating with their dealerships/distributors as smoothly as it can.

Before the pandemic, Butze describes a typical fall, "We used to be traveling August through November, going to more than 20 tradeshows internationally, but now, we have focused our approach with more demonstration days, which has worked well." He goes on to say that very few people are traveling right now with the global pandemic.

CH Trade has taken advantage of that situation and found a new rhythm, focusing on its international customers' needs and increasing global marketing while competitors have shifted to internal matters. With the pandemic, CH Trade and their dealerships/distributors have shifted slightly away from big farm shows with large crowds to a more selective approach with product demonstration days. "Getting in front of people and promoting our brands has been a great opportunity for CH Trade and our partners to continue doing business as many parts of the world have slowed down."

Butze's general advice for new exporters is to get in front of people, "All the travel is well worth it, and remember that they are all just people too. I don't know how many times that a problem could have been fixed more efficiently by just getting on a plane and making it happen." With all the technology, people often forget the impact face-to-face interactions can have.

He also points out the importance of making the right deals in the international business environment. "Often, people get too excited to have their first deal. They need to make sure it is the right deal with the right people. Making sure that agreements are fair to the company, it is hard to go back on agreements once they are made," says Butze, speaking from experience.

CH Trade works with a mix of companies. Some have been exporting for years. Others want to expand internationally but don't have the capacity - this is where CH Trade can help.  CH Trade offers many services that can support all businesses with their diverse contacts and international marketing experience to build up success. It can even be a great way to test the waters if a company is not yet ready to dedicate a full sales team to an international market.

Looking towards to future, CH Trade will be increasing travel as it becomes more comfortable. They also plan to focus on making the most out of every export sale coming out of ND by combining shipments and working with like-minded ND companies to increase efficiency and build trust along the way.   Because, as Butze admits, they have always had a soft spot for ND manufacturing companies.

CH Trade

Gates Manufacturing

Haybuster/ DuraTech


Hawkins Precision

Haggard Hockey sticks

Bullets Central

NDTO Awarded Specialty Crop Block Grant from ND Dept. of Agriculture

NDTO Awarded Specialty Crop Block Grant from ND Dept. of Agriculture

Posted on October 15, 2020

FARGO, ND -  This week, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture awarded the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) with a 2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant in the amount of $98,857 to fund the “Securing International Pulse Buyers” project. These funds will be utilized to highlight ND specialty crop companies, producers, and processors at the 2021 Gulfood show in Dubai, UAE.  Overall, this activity will increase awareness of our region and the reliability of specialty crops produced here. The USDA defines specialty crops as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture,” which for ND, includes crops such as as beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils. For a complete listing of specialty crops defined by the USDA, click here.

“Support through the North Dakota Department of Agriculture is greatly appreciated by our producers and processors to increase exports and build awareness for specialty crops” says Drew Combs, Executive Director of NDTO. The NDTO team has years of expertise to assist companies with export planning, market research, and making the right connections to ensure success. This grant will help companies participating in Gulfood to make connections throughout the world. Combs goes on to say, “It has been a tough year for everyone with the global pandemic, so additional funding is a bright spot that can really make a difference to keep exports moving and situate ND on the map as a global player.” Continued support from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture is greatly appreciated with our mutual goal of promoting the state and all it has to offer.

The funding will benefit both ND and Upper Midwest specialty crop companies to expand into export markets by increasing their product visibility globally. NDTO looks forward to providing continued assistance ND exporters as we seek to boost global trade for our state. Funds for this project are provided by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant program and are administered by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

If your company is interested in participating, please contact Jiwon Kim at For questions on applying for grants funds, please contact Amanda Nordick at

Press Release: NDTO Receives SBA Funding for State Trade Expansion Program

Press Release: NDTO Receives SBA Funding for State Trade Expansion Program

Posted on September 30, 2020

FARGO, ND - The US Small Business Administration announces State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) awardees this week. The awardees include the North Dakota Trade Office with $83,375.00 of funding to increase exports for small businesses in North Dakota for the upcoming fiscal year.

With the STEP ND 2020 program, funding is available for eligible small businesses to expand into new markets and assist companies new to exporting with market research, translation, and marketing projects. There are also opportunities for foreign sales trips,  domestic and international trade shows, and NDTO-lead trade missions.

"STEP funding for the small businesses of North Dakota means that even in these difficult times, we can still keep exporting goods and services.  NDTO and our team of experts can provide guidance, new opportunities, and connections that can lead to success," says Drew Combs, Executive Director of the NDTO.  Combs goes on to explain, "This year especially, we have focused funding on opportunities to improving marketing, website, translation and localization projects as travel is still uncertain. This focus will provide companies the opportunity to grow and adapt to the current environment."

With uncertainly in international travel, NDTO has seen an increased focus for projects to improve websites, virtual trade missions, and translation of marketing media, all of which can be funded through STEP. When borders open and travel becomes more feasible,  funding through STEP  is available to assist with foreign sales trips and trade missions to expand into new markets.

"Over two-thirds of the world's purchasing power resides outside the United States. That makes exporting a critical economic driver for North Dakota small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets," said SBA Regional Administrator Dan Nordberg.  "These STEP awards, in addition to SBA's export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, make sure that small businesses in North Dakota have the tools, resources, and relationships they need to take their businesses global."

With the ongoing success of the STEP ND Program,  the SBA ND District Director Al Haut stated, "I am pleased the North DakotaTrade Office is once again supporting our small businesses through SBA's STEP program.  STEP Funds can help a business pivot their sales to focus on foreign buyers by helping to cover the cost for upgrades to their website, translation of marketing materials, and participating in virtual trade missions." The  STEP ND program has seen a high return on investment from STEP dollars year over year, reporting an ROI of  131.48 (FY2016) on the most recently reported STEP award.

As STEP continues, the NDTO is looking forward to working with many partners to best support North Dakota companies to discover their export potential.  These partners include the North Dakota District Office of the SBA, North Dakota Small Business Development Center (SBDC), North Dakota Department of Agriculture, North Dakota Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Commercial Service, all of which have the expertise to offer exporters.

NDTO will accept applications for  the STEP ND from September 30, 2020, through September 29, 2021. Company and activity applications will be reviewed and selected on a first-come, first-served basis. For STEP ND resources and application details, visit the NDTO website. If you are interested in STEP ND funding, please connect with our team at

About the North Dakota Trade Office and Small Business Administration

The North Dakota Trade Office is a membership-based, private/public partnership that provides education, research, advocacy, organization, and leadership. NDTO members and North Dakota companies can increase exports and grow their international business.

The US Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit