North Dakota Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple and the North Dakota Trade Office will lead an eight-day trade mission to South Africa beginning May 11. Taking part in the mission are six companies with diverse interests in the South African marketplace.
Mission delegates will meet with potential customers and distributors of agriculture equipment, value-added crops, processed foods, aviation equipment and medical equipment. The delegates will spend most of their time meeting with pre-qualified business contacts in Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial center, but some also will travel to the coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban to expand their international businesses.
“South Africa’s economy has continued to grow for more than a decade and that growth is creating opportunities for North Dakota businesses that are willing to pursue it,” Dalrymple said. “The Trade Office, in partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service, has established significant contacts in South Africa and it’s time we take the next step to develop these business ties.”
With a growing economy, South Africa is modernizing its infrastructure and increasingly turning to the world marketplace to help supply foods, high-tech equipment and other goods. South Africa’s market size (population 49 million) and pro-business environment also make it a logical choice for companies seeking a stepping-stone to expand business on the African continent. South Africa is the most advanced, broad-based and productive economy in Africa, the U.S. Commercial Service reports.
“Unlike many overseas markets, U.S. exports to South Africa have not seen a precipitous decline,” said Craig Allen, senior U.S. Commercial Service office in Johannesburg. “We predict continued growth in bilateral trade and investment ties, with particular strength in the agricultural equipment, chemicals and services industries.”
Mission delegates will include Dean Atchison, president of Fargo-based Spectrum Aeromed which designs and manufactures life support equipment and custom medical interiors for fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft.
“Since moving to Fargo in June of 2008 we have worked diligently to develop international business opportunities and I’m excited to be participating in the North Dakota – South Africa Trade Mission,” Atchison said.
“Spectrum Aeromed’s quick-change air ambulance equipment is extremely well suited to meet the multi-mission needs of charter and executive fixed-wing aircraft operators in South Africa,” Atchison said. “Additionally, we have seen significant demand for our helicopter air medical solutions over the last six months and we believe the South African aerospace market can be a key area of opportunity for our company.”
North Dakota exports to South Africa have increased 48 percent since 2004, reaching a value of $16 million last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports. North Dakota products in demand in South Africa include value-added crops, processed foods, plastic and rubber products, electronics, agricultural equipment and other machinery.
Companies participating in the trade mission are:
· Spectrum Aeromed, Fargo, N.D.
· JM Grain, Garrison, N.D.
· Roll-a-Ramp, West Fargo, N.D.
· Dakota Growers Pasta, Carrington, N.D.
· Sund Manufacturing Co., Glenburn, N.D.
· Paulson Premium Seed, Bowman, N. D.