CHICAGO – As part of his ongoing effort to help Illinois businesses establish new markets aboard and increase foreign direct investment at home, Governor Rod Blagojevich met today with Governor Wenyue Zhang of China’s Liaoning Province. Liaoning, which is located in Northwest China, is an important agricultural and industrial province with 41 million residents and a gross domestic product of $65 billion. In 2003, Liaoning imports totaled $13.3 billion.
“It is a honor to welcome Governor Zhang to Illinois. Liaoning is already partnering with several major Illinois employers, and I know that there are many other opportunities to attract more foreign direct investment throughout the state and open even more markets across China to Illinois companies. This is another example of our aggressive effort to introduce everything Illinois has to offer the world,” Governor Blagojevich said.
Just last week, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) brought foreign trade commissioners representing 21 countries, including China, to Peoria. The reverse foreign trade mission was designed to capitalize on the presence of foreign trade offices in Chicago and Illinois’ status as a world-class, strategic location to promote the region as a great place for foreign direct investment and to provide the strategic links needed to increase exports from the area. A similar event was held in Rockford in May with even more planned.
“Attracting new investment and fostering international trade relationships, with China and other countries around the globe, is playing a vital role in achieving our common goal of building a more robust, prosperous economy throughout Illinois. Governor Blagojevich and I are to dedicated this important mission because this is a great way to create more Illinois jobs,” State Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) said.
Also in May, DCEO escorted a number of Illinois companies representing various industries, including architecture design, environmental technology, engineer services, consulting and construction materials, to China to explore opportunities resulting from its admittance to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the 2010 World’s Fair in Shanghai, and other related economic development projects.
“Governor Blagojevich understands we must continue our tireless marketing campaign showcasing what we already know at home – there is no better place to do business than Illinois. We have the infrastructure, a highly educated and skilled workforce, some of the finest universities and a tremendous quality of life. Developing these kinds of strategic relationships will start paying important economic dividends now and for years to come,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.