SHANGHAI – September 21, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn continued his trade mission in China by visiting Shanghai where he announced Illinois exports will soon be more readily available to Chinese consumers. The Governor attended a reception hosted by the American Goods Center to announce plans to open centers in both Shanghai and Beijing this fall.
“Continued trade and cooperation with China will help Illinois remain at the cutting edge of the global marketplace,” Governor Quinn said. “We are committed to working alongside the people of China on issues such as education, tourism and trade in order to help grow our economy for years to come.”
The American Goods Distribution Center in Shanghai will open in October. Work on the American Goods Center in Beijing is almost complete, and it is expected to open this fall. Later this year, the American Goods Centers will open a purchasing office in Chicago and send its first purchasing delegation from China to Illinois to buy Illinois products.
In January, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Chicago where the Beijing International Brand Management Center (BIBMC), along with the Chaoyang District of Beijing and Changning District of Shanghai and the state of Illinois, signed a memorandum of understanding to establish American Goods Centers in Beijing and Shanghai to increase the export of Illinois goods and services to China and to foster more Chinese investment in Illinois.
Under the agreement, the state will recommend Illinois products to the BIBMC – particularly in the agricultural, auto parts and construction machinery sectors – and assist with establishing the purchase center in Chicago. Through the distribution centers, BIBMC will provide intellectual property rights protection, Chinese distribution development, channel construction, marketing and other comprehensive services to Illinois companies in China.
China is Illinois' third largest export destination, and Illinois is among the top five states in agricultural exports to China. Illinois agriculture exports to China have increased each year since 2007, from $149 million to $552 million in 2009. Illinois' overall exports to China in 2009 reached $2.47 billion. In 2010, Illinois’ exports to China reached $3.18 billion, representing a 29 percent increase over 2009. Nearly 30 Chinese companies have invested in Illinois, employing thousands of Illinois residents.
Governor Quinn and the Illinois delegation also visited Shanghai’s Jewish Quarter, once known as the Restricted Sector for Stateless Refugees. During the 1930s, 20,000 Jews fled to Shanghai, which offered visa-free sanctuary to Jews fleeing Nazism. In accordance with a Japanese-issued proclamation, those refugees were relocated to a one-square mile area in the Hongkou District. The Quarter now includes a museum and offers educational tours of the neighborhood.