Hoeven Highlights Ukraine, North Dakota Connection with ND Trade, Business Leaders

Senator Met with North Dakota Business Reps During Recent Ukraine Visit

FARGO, N.D. – Following his recent visit to Ukraine, Senator John Hoeven today led a group of North Dakota trade and business officials in highlighting the current situation in Ukraine and its impact on North Dakota trade relations. Hoeven traveled to Ukraine last weekend to see firsthand the security situation following Russia’s occupation of the Ukrainian province of Crimea and to meet with North Dakota trade and business representatives working in the nation.

While in Kiev, Hoeven met with Andrey Sova, the North Dakota Trade Office’s representative in Ukraine, along with representatives from Titan Machinery Ukraine, Agrosem, Sioux Steel, the Ukrainian Agragrian Confederation, Astarta Holding, the Ukraine-U.S. Business Council, AMAKO and Bueling Inc.

“We traveled to Ukraine not only to see what is happening on the ground, but also to ensure that we enact smart sanctions in a way that deters Russian aggression, but doesn’t hurt our economy or our allies,” said Hoeven. “We need to use sanctions to deter Russia, but we want to make sure we help Ukraine and the European Union and that we don’t negatively affect North Dakota and other U.S. companies operating there. We have built an important trade relationship with Ukraine that not only benefits our economy, but provides much needed goods and services to the nation.”

Hoeven was joined at today’s press conference by Dean Gorder, Executive Director of the North Dakota Trade Office; Heather Ranck, Office Director and International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service; Howard Dahl, President and CEO of Amity Technology; Stacy Anthony, International Sales Manager at Brandt Holdings; David Meyer, CEO of Titan Machinery; Olga Hall, International Marketing Director at Titan Machinery; and Jon Engelstad, International Sales Manager at Superior Inc.

Today’s press conference followed Hoeven’s remarks at the Small Business Action Summit, which he cohosted along with the Red River Valley Research Corridor and the state’s delegation. Hoeven underscored the importance of small businesses in North Dakota, including the North Dakota small businesses he met with while in the Ukraine.

Hoeven said the security situation in Ukraine impacts U.S. agriculture, trade and energy ties between the two countries. Over the long-term, he believes building strong energy and trade relations with Ukraine can be keys to solving the challenge of Russian aggression. Currently, Ukraine is the 14th largest importer of goods from North Dakota, with more than $22 million in imports in 2013.

North Dakota and Ukraine, one of the world’s top grain exporters, are remarkably similar in climate and soil, which has created a demand in the eastern European country for U.S. agricultural equipment and expertise. Consequently, the state has forged robust trade ties with Ukraine over the past decade, particularly in agricultural equipment and related products. Agricultural machinery accounts for more than 75 percent of all exports to that country. This includes tractors, combines, seeders, dryers, parts, and tillage equipment. Grain bins, seed such as sunflower seeds and soybeans, make up the rest of the exports.    

North Dakota equipment companies like RDO Equipment Co., Titan Machinery and Amity Industries have all established dealerships and hired employees around the country. For example, agriculture and heavy equipment dealer RDO has four dealerships in Ukraine and employs 60 people. Titan Machinery and Amity Industries both have sales and distribution operations in Ukraine. Kindred, N.D.-based Superior Manufacturing, a grain bin manufacturer, markets bins in Ukraine, as well as in Romania, Kazakhstan, and Russia. North Dakota exports to Ukraine increased by about 30 percent from 2012 to 2013 and are expected to grow.