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July 29, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation creating important economic development organization that will help open more doors for Illinois companies abroad
and attract more foreign investment across Illinois

CHICAGO – Boosting efforts to spur economic growth in innovative ways, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today creating the Illinois Global Partnership (IGP), a not-for-profit corporation that will build on the state’s successful efforts at spurring international economic development and creating more jobs throughout Illinois. 
“We live in an ultra-competitive global market, which provides us with a tremendous opportunity to attract even more companies, more jobs and more tourists to Illinois.  Capitalizing on the international marketplace has been a priority of mine since coming into office, and this new partnership will ensure that this sector of our economy will continue to flourish.  This will be another effective tool in creating more opportunities for our working families to get ahead,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
A 14-member Board of Directors, who will not receive any compensation, but are to be reimbursed for expenses, will govern IGP.  The members will consist of the following: five members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the House Minority Leader, the President of the Senate, the Senate Minority Leader, the Lieutenant Governor, the Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Executive Director of the Illinois Finance Authority and the Chair of the Illinois Arts Council.
House Bill 4053 was sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg (D-Evanston).
“I envision the Illinois Global Partnership becoming the organization that will help the state develop an effective, nationally respected trade program. It will bring benefits to workers and businesses in every region of our state,” said Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.
“This initiative will further energize the state's economic and cultural relationships with its existing international partners and will create many new opportunities for Illinois businesses to tap foreign markets,” said Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston). “The Illinois Global Partnership will be an invaluable tool in marketing Illinois products abroad and helping our artists receive greater international exposure.”
The international market is a critical and growing sector of Illinois’ economy.  The state ranks seventh in the nation in total exports, with Illinois experiencing a 14 percent increase in 2004, a growth rate that surpasses the national average.  Illinois was also ranked fourth in the nation at attracting foreign investment in a study by the Organization for International Investment released in October 2004.  This investment has created almost 300,000 Illinois jobs, a nearly 39 percent increase over the last 5 years.  International tourism has also boosted the Illinois economy.  In 2004, overseas visitors climbed by 18 percent.  Nearly 1 million people from around the globe came to Illinois making it the 6th most popular U.S. state for overseas travelers.  The economic impact generated by international travel spending in Illinois increased by 10.4 percent to $1.5 billion.
IGP has the power to host monthly business leadership forums, manage trips to Washington, D.C. for key business leaders, arrange trips to Illinois for members of Congress from other states, host monthly trade missions from international companies and help manage trips to other states and countries for Illinois business leaders.  These efforts will compliment the ongoing work of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Trade and Investment and the Illinois Bureau of Tourism to spark international trade, investment and tourism. 
HB 4053 is effective immediately.


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