NDTO News Article

Trade Missions Play Big Role in Dakota Technologies Deal with Korea

If you’re wondering if trade missions or reverse trade missions can help boost exports, just ask Dakota Technologies.  The small North Dakota company that employs just six people is celebrating the sale of its first UVOST machine to Korea.

The UVOST or Ultraviolet Optical Screening Tool is described as a machine that efficiently delineates petroleum, oil, and lubricant (POL) contaminants in the soil.  This machine is able to detect gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and hydraulic fluids and is a powerful tool in cleaning up contaminants.

Dakota Technologies began looking at Korea as a potential buyer several years ago because of the country’s focus on the environment. Korea is looking at several areas that need to be cleaned up including:   former U.S. military bases, train yards, oil refineries and gas stations.  The UVOST is far more efficient and accurate at detecting contaminates than existing technology.

In March of 2008, a NDTO delegation visited Korea and began talks with the Korean company Dreambios.  In 2010, a delegation from Dreambios visited Dakota Technologies in Fargo as part of a NDTO Reverse Trade Mission.  After months of discussions a UVOST purchase agreement was finalized in early 2011; the system was delivered in April, and training took place in May.   One sale such as this has a big impact on a small company like Dakota Technologies.  The total cost of the transaction is estimated at about $125,000.

Dakota Technologies says the NDTO was a valuable resource, and helped make the deal happen.  The Trade Office made the initial face-to-face contact in 2008 and many emails were exchanged between that meeting and the reverse trade mission. Once Dreambios made the decision to purchase a UVOST, NDTO Manager of Business Development, Korea Jiwon Kim was a big help with the language barrier and was often responding to emails or taking calls in the middle of the night to answer questions.

This sale is the latest in a string of UVOST machines being exported.  To date Dakota Technologies has sold 20 units: 10 in the USA, 1-UK, 3-Germany, 1-Canada, 1-Latvia, 1-Taiwain, 1-South Korea, 1-Netherlands, & 1-Australia.  Dakota Technologies says they are hoping this sale is the first of many machines headed for Korea.