CHICAGO – March 26, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn and Manitoba, Canada Premier Greg Selinger today signed a memorandum of understanding to boost trade and commerce opportunities between the two governments.
“Global partners are critical to our efforts to boost Illinois’ economy and create jobs,” said Governor Quinn. “This agreement solidifies our commitment to working together to ensure both Illinois and Manitoba continue to grow and succeed in the global marketplace.”
Under the agreement, Illinois and Manitoba will work together to foster greater collaboration in emerging and high-growth sectors, including the life sciences and biotechnology, manufacturing, renewable energy, and information and communication technologies. The agreement also calls for both governments to collaborate on trade and tourism opportunities; examine options for cooperative activity in furthering innovation in the Midwest; exchange best practices in water and river management; further develop collaborative opportunities in conservation and clean energy; and seek out opportunities to enhance strategic partnerships and alliances between private sector companies in Illinois and Manitoba.
“Illinois and Manitoba share a common history as transportation hubs and centres for commodity trade and retail distribution throughout North America,” said Selinger. “This agreement marks an important milestone in strengthening the already deep and enduring ties between our jurisdictions by ensuring we remain continental leaders in these areas, while also positioning ourselves to fully realize exciting new opportunities in the global economy.”
Illinois delivered approximately $14.7 billion in exports to Canada in 2010 – 29.5 percent of Illinois’ total exports – making it Illinois’ largest trading partner. Illinois exports to Manitoba totaled $1.38 billion last year and included construction machinery; agricultural implements; periodical publishers; engine, turbine and transmission equipment; and material handling equipment.
Trade is a key driver of the Illinois economy. Illinois exports totaled nearly $49.8 billion in 2010, a 19.6 percent increase over 2009, and maintained its rank as the 6th largest exporting state. Direct exports accounted for 8.2 percent of Illinois’ gross state product in 2009. Illinois ranks first in the Midwest for exports and foreign direct investment. As part of his fiscal year 2012 budget, Governor Quinn is committed to doubling the state’s exports by 2015.