WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) reintroduced the Promoting Rural Exports Act, bipartisan legislation to formally establish a Rural Export Center at the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) to help businesses in rural areas increase their exports by accessing new international markets. The Rural Export Center (REC) provides critical research, tools, and analysis to support rural exporters and help them identify new buyers and strategies to reach international markets. 

“Businesses in rural areas shouldn’t be denied opportunities just because of their location,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan Promoting Rural Exports Act will help ensure rural businesses have the resources they need to reach new markets, boost exports, and continue to innovate and grow.”

“The Rural Export Center creates opportunities and a customized approach for trade across industries including agriculture, energy and manufacturing in rural states like North Dakota,” said Hoeven. “It’s important that we build on the great progress the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service rural team has made in Fargo by making the REC a permanent program that can benefit state economies for years to come.”

This legislation was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

In FY 2022, the REC supported 22 states, including Minnesota, and assisted 800 clients in industries including agricultural equipment, machinery and tools, furniture, building products, construction, and more. 

The Promoting Rural Exports Act will: 

  • Direct the Assistant Secretary of Commerce to formally establish a Rural Export Center at the USCS to help rural businesses export their products;
  • Require the Rural Export Center to remain in a location that is not in a major metropolitan area;
  • Direct the Rural Export Center to provide customized market research services to help rural businesses target their exports;
  • Direct the Rural Export Center to conduct strategic planning and export support services for rural businesses; and
  • Require the Center to make data relating to its effectiveness publicly available on its website.

Klobuchar has long worked to support rural exporters. Last year, her bipartisan legislation with Senator John Thune (R-SD), the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, was signed into law. This legislation levels the playing field for American exporters by making it harder for foreign-owned ocean carriers to unreasonably refuse goods ready to export at ports, helping to fix supply chains and ease shipping backlogs. 

In 2021, Klobuchar voted to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which made historic investments in strengthening our supply chains and improving roads, bridges, and ports to make sure businesses can transport goods and products for export to global markets.