Gov. Rauner departs for overseas trade mission

Leads the foreign trade mission to China and Japan with a delegation of business and industry leaders from around the state

CHICAGO – Gov. Bruce Rauner today departed from O’Hare International Airport on a flight operated by Illinois-based United Airlines for an eight-day visit to Japan and China, marking the first international trade mission for the administration.

“Once I arrive in Asia, I look forward to hitting the ground running to attract foreign job creators to Illinois and to help current Illinois businesses enhance their own competitiveness,” Gov. Rauner said. “Our people and location make Illinois the best state in the country, and I am focused on expanding Illinois’ role in global markets to strengthen our economy and to increase the amount of quality jobs available for Illinoisans.”

As the largest exporter in the Midwest, fifth-largest exporter in the country and fourth-largest manufacturing state, Illinois is poised to benefit greatly from expanding foreign trade and investment. In that vein, throughout the trade mission, Gov. Rauner will emphasize corporate recruitment, business retention and expansion, and fostering diplomatic relationships in China and Japan.

The mission lasts until Sept. 17 and will bring together leaders in business, education and government to focus on creating opportunities for Illinois businesses, as well as strengthening Illinois’ diplomatic and trade relationships with Japan and China.

Illinois has strong partnerships with both countries to build upon. Exports to China in 2015 totaled $4.87 billion. Japanese firms have a significant presence in Illinois, with more than 587 firms in 1,029 locations that employ more than 49,000 Illinois residents.

“We are grateful to be a part of this working trade mission to Asia to support the strong relationship between Illinois and Japan and Illinois and China,” Intersect Illinois President and CEO Mark Peterson said. “These substantive meetings between the delegation and companies will reinforce the mutual benefits of Foreign Direct Investment into Illinois.”

Illinois’ delegation includes:

Mark Peterson, President & CEO, Intersect Illinois

Erik Brejla, Assistant Deputy Director, Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce

Kelly Nicholl, Chief Marketing Officer, Intersect Illinois

Jason Anderson, Economic Development Director, City of Rochelle

Paul J. Borek, Executive Director, DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation

Inga Carus, Chairman, Carus Corporation Inc.

Jonathon Hallberg, Executive Director, Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation 

Sheila Owens, Vice President of Economic Development & Business Development, ComEd

Edward Seidel, Vice President of Economic Development and Innovation, University of Illinois System

The mission begins with a stop in Tokyo, where Gov. Rauner will attend the Midwest-USA Japan Conference. The conference unites government officials and business executives. The visit will continue to Shanghai and Hangzhou, China, which includes high-level meetings with government officials, leading to additional business and investment opportunities to promote Illinois in China.