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October 26, 2000

Governor Announces Enhanced Illinois Presence in China

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Illinois is taking advantage of normalized trade relations with China by establishing an Illinois Trade and Investment Office in Shanghai, China.

"Now that the United States has established normal trade relations with China, Illinois is prepared to forge stronger business ties with that country," Ryan said. "The Illinois Trade Office-Shanghai will provide Illinois companies with a direct link to this huge market of 1.3 billion consumers. The office also demonstrates my commitment to strengthen Illinois' presence in the global marketplace."

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, Illinois Trade Office (ITO) continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) and has partnered with the USDOC's Commercial Service Center in Shanghai. Similar to the ITO/USDOC partnership in Johannesburg, South Africa, the ITO-Shanghai Office has 'co-located' with the USDOC, sharing both office space and resources.

"Illinois' new trade office in China will be an invaluable resource for Illinois companies looking to export their products to the region," said Pam McDonough, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. "Greater access into China has enormous potential for Illinois companies and for our overall economy considering one-in-eight jobs in the state are dependent on exports."

Zachary Zhao, formerly of the USDOC Commercial Service Center in Shanghai, brings his knowledge and expertise to manage Illinois' Shanghai office-an Office whose territory accounts for over $850 million in Illinois exports annually.

The ITO-Shanghai office will work closely with Illinois' two existing Asia-Pacific Offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo, Japan. As a result of this regional enhancement, all three offices will now be able to devote more staff time and office resources to other burgeoning opportunities rapidly developing throughout the region, especially in India, South Korea, and Southeast Asia. Altogether, these offices will encompass a region accounting for over $2.1 billion in Illinois exports (annually) and approximately one-third of the world's population.

Establishing the trade office in Shanghai will also help provide technical assistance to Illinois farmers seeking to increase commodity shipments to China.

"Increase trade with China is crucial for the Illinois farmer. In the first half of this year, Illinois exported more than $157 million worth of agricultural products to China, and we expect that number to grow," said Illinois Agriculture Director Joe Hampton. "By establishing a trade office in China, Illinois farmers will have easier access to this important market."

Similar to all Illinois Trade and Investment Offices, the ITO-Shanghai office will assist small and medium-sized Illinois firms in exporting to the region, attract foreign direct investment to Illinois, and market Illinois tourism.

The State of Illinois maintains eight other regional Trade and Investment Offices in Brussels, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Mexico City, Warsaw, Budapest, Toronto, and Johannesburg.


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