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MINNESOTA TRADE OFFICE-LED BUSINESS DELEGATION LEAVES FOR KAZAKHSTAN & RUSSIA

 ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirteen Minnesota companies will be represented during a 12-day exploratory mission which leaves this week for Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. The Minnesota Trade Office (MTO) sponsored mission is aimed at forging new business relationships in the developing economies of the former Soviet Union.
 Claudia Liebrecht, the MTO's director of international marketing and investment and delegation leader, will be promoting Minnesota businesses throughout the mission. The company representatives and the MTO will participate in a trade show in Almaty and in Moscow and have dozens of meetings scheduled with minister officials as well as Kazakh and Russian entrepreneurs and business organizations.
 According to George Crolick, executive director of the MTO, the mission is part of a long range plan to gain more insight into the developing markets. The mission is consistent with the Clinton administration's goal to help former Soviet republics build democratic market economies. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided financial assistance to the MTO for the Kazakhstan portion of the trip.
 Liebrecht said the challenges of organizing the mission have been staggering. "While many major corporations and very small entrepreneurs are already pursuing the markets on their own, it has been harder to reach the medium-sized companies," she said. "It's been the MTO's goal to try to increase awareness among all Minnesota companies of the opportunities and risks in doing business with these countries through formation of an advisory board on the former Soviet Union, seminars, and now through the mission."
 Industries that were targeted for promotion are processed foods and food processing equipment, medical products, and computer and data processing equipment. According to Liebrecht: "Kazakhstan and Russia, and all of the former Soviet republics, have vast needs -- from basic infrastructure to consumer goods. We have some companies participating in the mission that can supply automobiles, pre-manufactured housing units and some service providers that specialize in infrastructure.
 "The market is varied and vast," Leibrecht said. "While there are definitely risks involved in doing business there and dealing with the red tape has been an exercise in frustration, we still believe opportunities exist. However, these markets are definitely not for everyone."
 Participating companies are: FirmLink International, Roseville, Minn.; Pillsbury, Minneapolis; U.S. Asian Enterprises, Minneapolis; General Transnational Corp, St. Paul, Minn.; Sherwood & McKenzie, St. Paul; Developed Technology Resource Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn.; Benson & Company, Minneapolis; Sun Auto, Alexandria, Minn.; International Computer Systems Inc., Wayzata, Minn.; Vista Ventures, Minneapolis; BRW Inc., Minneapolis; Buslovich Architects, Minneapolis; and M.A. Mortenson, Minneapolis.
 Legal firms provided technical assistance to the delegation members Sept. 1 at a pre-departure briefing. Participating firms included Faegre & Benson and Sherwood & McKenzie, both with offices in Kazakhstan, and Dorsey & Whitney. A Norwest Bank representative also briefed the participants on the banking industry in the region.
 -0- 9/7/93
 /CONTACT: Kathy Stone of the Minnesota Trade Office, 612-297-1491 or 800-657-3858/


CO: Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development ST: Minnesota IN: SU:

DB-DS -- MN017 -- 9517 09/07/93 17:24 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 7, 1993
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