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Commerce Secretary Locke to Burnsville Tuesday for forum on jobs

WASHINGTON — Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will be in Burnsville Tuesday for a “jobs and competitiveness” forum, White House officials announced today.

Locke and representatives from the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, including Eastman Kodak CEO Antonio Perez, will tour Permac Industries at 11 a.m., and then meet with local business owners. The discussions will focus particularly on growing exports, officials said.

“Whether it’s access to capital, difficulties navigating foreign rules and regulations or finding trusted customers abroad, many small businesses face barriers to exporting,” Locke said in a statement. “Tuesday’s forum gives us an opportunity to help more small businesses reach the billions of consumers who live outside our borders.”

The Obama administration has said it wants to double U.S. exports over the next five years, and last year cited Minnesota as a state that could provide examples of how to do that. Minnesota’s exports grew 50 percent over the last half-decade.

By far Minnesota’s largest export destination is next-door neighbor Canada, followed by China, Japan, Ireland and Mexico, and primary export sectors include electronics, machinery, transportation equipment, raw materials and agricultural goods.

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