CHICAGO, Ill. (IRN/KMOX) – Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong are on the itinerary for Gov. Pat Quinn and his 30-member delegation which is leaving today (Friday) for China. Included in the delegation; Tim Cantwell, Director, Mid-America Airport, and Mark A. Kern, Chairman, Saint Clair County Board.
It’ll be the first trip to China for Governor Quinn. It’s a trade mission. He says business doesn’t promote itself; you have to meet people face-to-face.
“Right now we have a world economy that’s very competitive. Illinois can compete with anybody in the whole world. Our economy is a large one, we have hard-working men and women and great businesses, but part of the job is to open up the door to other countries so we can export our goods and services to them,” Quinn said.
Quinn expects they’ll be signing trade agreements estimated in the hundreds of millions. “I think it’s a reasonable investment if you’re signing contracts of over hundreds of millions of dollars that are worth thousands of jobs in Illinois.”
Illinois exports to China in 2010 were $3.18 billion, making China the No. 3 export market behind Canada and Mexico.
The Governor also says, “we want to have a very close relationship with the people of China, many of their young people come over here to study and we want them to have a good remembrance of Illinois and think of us when it comes to creating jobs.”
Quinn is paying for his airfare and accommodations for the eight-day trip, but taxpayers are paying $130,000 for the delegation’s expenses.
“I think it’s a reasonable investment if you’re signing contracts of over hundreds of millions of dollars that are worth thousands of jobs in Illinois.”
In reference to the use of taxpayer dollars for the trip, Quinn said “you can squeeze a nickel and lose a half-dollar.