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South Dakota Trade is a new stimulus organization for its state’s export growth

Raising the bar for South Dakota exports is the newly funded South Dakota Trade (SDT) Association based in Sioux Falls. This not-for-profit organization, established less than a year ago, operates independently from the state offering counseling, STEP grant funding and other export-related services.

According to Luke Lindberg, President and CEO, its aim is to quickly stimulate greater exports from SMEs in the state through trade missions, counseling and other educational services. Agricultural commodities and value-added agriculture are its largest export segments, followed by manufacturing.


“We recently took an agricultural SME to Mexico allowing companies to participate in a major food tech show allowing that company to interact with buyers and gain an export foothold,” said Mr. Lindberg. “It never would have happened had the companies not had access to our STEP grants which covered a great deal of their expenses to participate.”


On the manufacturing side, SDT assisted a company enter the Australian market, it a tremendous export growth in a new market. Once again, the stimulus from STEP grants allowed them to make that important export leap. Coming soon, are trade missions to Taiwan and Japan which SDT are on the details in initial planning stages.


According to 2002 SBA statistics, approximately 166,384 small businesses in the US currently export, accounting for about 26% of all US exports. Applying this to South Dakota, as Mr. Lindberg pointed out, “We have a tremendous upside to work with.”


“The most significant near-term obstacle is effectively communicating and connecting with South Dakota SMEs about their potential for export sales and solidifying their export mindset,” said Edward Newburn, SDT Senior Advisor & Chief of Staff. Another serious obstacle is the lack of a transloading facility in South Dakota to shift containers from local drayage to rail. As it is now, exporters must truck their goods to Minneapolis or Chicago making it more costly and somewhat difficult to access available containers.


SDT is partnering with the Governor’s office of Economic Development along with interns from the University of South Dakota’s Beacom School of Business to investigate possible remedies for the state’s rail shipping issues.


Supporting SDT’s endeavors is a growing base of partners, including larger international companies such as Daktronics. Rosenbauer and Poet, among others, as SDT strives to encourage hundreds of SMEs across South Dakota into exporting.


For more information on the organization, visit

Mr. Luke Lindberg

President & CEO - South Dakota Trade

Luke Lindberg is the President & CEO of South Dakota Trade, a 501c(6) public-private-partnership that navigates international trade for South Dakota. Previously, Mr. Lindberg served as the Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. As the agency’s second-highest ranking official, he was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of EXIM and advancing strategic initiatives such as the program on “China and Transformational Exports”, opening new markets for American Liquified Natural Gas, securing America’s supply of Critical Minerals & Rare Earths, and protecting allies in the race to deploy 5G globally. He also led EXIM’s involvement in the execution of the ground-breaking Abraham Accords. Mr. Lindberg earned the Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes distinctive accomplishment and leadership that significantly benefit EXIM and the nation.

Today, Mr. Lindberg Serves on the board of directors of the National Association of District Export Councils, and the Children’s Home Society. He holds advisory roles with the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue University, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Additionally, Mr. Lindberg is a Senior Fellow at the America First Policy Institute and has been featured by Fox News, The Washington Times, The Hill, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, and The Farm Journal, for his ‘Thought Leadership’ on international affairs and agriculture policy. Mr. Lindberg earned a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Public Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Government & Politics, all from the University of Maryland.


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