Governor Pat Quinn will travel to the People's Republic of China tomorrow in an effort to increase economic opportunities between Illinois and China. The Governor will arrive in China Sept. 17 for an eight-day trade mission designed to strengthen Illinois' exports and foreign direct investment. With Illinois already leading the Midwest in exports and foreign direct investment, the trade mission will build on the state's prior successes as part of Governor Quinn's agenda to create jobs in Illinois.
"Illinois' relationship with China and with Chinese businesses is an extremely important part of not only helping our economy grow but also making sure Illinois continues to be a strong competitor in today's global marketplace." Governor Quinn said. "Trade and investment in China are essential to growing our economy and during this trip, we will promote Illinois' exports and encourage Chinese companies to invest in Illinois."
For his first visit to China, Governor Quinn will lead an Illinois delegation made up of officials representing Illinois businesses and educational institutions, as well as state and local governments. The group will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in an effort to strengthen the state's exports, foreign direct investment and tourism between China and Illinois.
During his trip, Governor Quinn will preside over the signing of new Illinois export contracts in the agriculture and telecom industries worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Governor Quinn will also meet with Chinese officials in an effort to boost investments in Illinois businesses.
While in Shanghai, the Governor will serve as the keynote speaker at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China (AMCHAM). Currently nearly 30 Chinese companies have already invested in Illinois, including automotive parts and solar panel producer Wanxiang Group and Shenhua International, China's largest coal producer.
Governor Quinn will also sign memorandums of understanding to foster future business exchanges in emerging fields such as biotechnology, clean energy and education. The Governor will also meet with graduates of the University of Illinois now living in China. During the trip, the Governor will sign a sister river agreement in order to promote pollution control and clean water technology.
Illinois currently leads the Midwest in exports and foreign direct investment. Last year's exports totaled just over $50 billion, with China as the state's third largest export destination. In recent years, Illinois has seen a nearly 30 percent increase in exports to China. Last year alone exports to China totaled $3.18 billion, with the top products exported ranging from machinery, electronics and appliances to chemicals, transportation equipment and agricultural products.
Overseas visitation from China to Illinois is showing strong growth, up from Illinois' being the 6th top overseas market in 2009 to 4th in 2010. Illinois hosted 97,000 visitors from the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong in 2010. The Chinese visitors stayed on average 7.2 nights in Illinois, with the top activities being shopping, dining in restaurants, sightseeing, visiting historical sites and visiting museums and art galleries.
The state of Illinois opened its Hong Kong office in 1974 and later established an office in Shanghai in 2000. Many Illinois cities have established sister city relationships with Chinese cities. Governor Quinn will sign new sister agreements to promote further economic development and tourism during his visit to China.
For updates on Governor Quinn's trip, visit www.Illinois.gov or follow him on Twitter at @GovernorQuinn. More information about Illinois trade and business opportunities can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's website at www.illinoisbiz.biz.