* Press release from yesterday…
Governor Bruce Rauner arrived in Tokyo where he will start the first international trade mission of his administration. Shortly after his arrival, the governor attended the welcome reception at the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference.
“We are excited to welcome the governor to the MWJA Conference,” said MWJA Executive Director Marie Gaudette. “It’s a great honor that Japan is the destination for his first overseas trade mission and our Midwest U.S.-Japan forum provides a critical foundation for engaging with senior executives of the Japanese business community.”
Following the reception, the governor met with Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman and CEO of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to discuss further trade and investment opportunities. JETRO is a government-related organization which connects overseas companies with Japan in hopes of making Japan the most business-friendly country in the world.
The governor is leading the foreign trade mission with an Illinois delegation of industry and business development leaders from all across Illinois from Sept. 9 -17. The delegation will meet with business, government and education leaders in Japan and China.
“Foreign direct investment and growing exports in Illinois are vital to the prosperity of our businesses, citizens and overall health of our economy,” the governor said. “There is considerable competition among U.S. states to attract foreign investment and trade and Illinois must aggressively market itself.”
Illlinois is home to 630 Japanese companies employing more than 49,000 Illinois residents.
“Illinois is the largest exporting state in the Midwest and the 5th largest exporting state in the U.S.,” Gov. Rauner said. “Illinois depends on world markets and last year our exports totaled more than $60 billion, which supported thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of workers.”
More info on the Midwestern conference is here.
* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service…
Rauner said he’s making his first international trip now because Illinois can’t afford to wait anymore.
“Frankly, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to travel around the world when we haven’t been able to get a balanced budget and reforms so that we can keep the budget balanced,” he said. “Now we have a budget, it’s not balanced, we didn’t get reforms, but I can’t afford to wait any longer. We have got to bring businesses here.”
* Other attendees…
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, CEO & President, Carus Corporation; 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.
Carus Corporation is headquartered in Peru. Add in Rochelle and DeKalb and there are bunch of folks from that general area on the trip. Not sure what that means yet.
Either way, the governor is gone for the rest of the week so things should calm down a bit here.
* By the way, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is also in Tokyo…
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is also attending the conference.