CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn will lead a trade mission to Brazil Sunday in an effort to increase economic opportunities between Illinois and Brazil. The governor will arrive in Brazil Sept. 23 for a six-day mission designed to strengthen Illinois exports, foster education and boost tourism.
“Brazil’s strong economy and expanding middle class make the country an important market for Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “We are bringing together leaders from business, government and education to create and develop the relationships that will help fuel economic growth in Illinois.”
Governor Quinn is the first Illinois governor to lead a trade mission to Brazil. With Illinois already leading the Midwest in exports, the trade mission will build on the state’s prior successes as part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to aggressively pursue international trade and create jobs in Illinois. In 2011, Illinois exports to Brazil totaled $2.55 billion, up 24 percent from the previous year, making Brazil the state’s fifth-largest export market. Illinois is the fourth-largest exporter to Brazil in the U.S.
A delegation of officials from Illinois businesses, educational institutions, and state and local governments will accompany Governor Quinn on the trip, which includes stops in São Paulo, Brasilia and Recife. During the mission, Governor Quinn will preside over the signing of several memorandums of understanding as part of the Doing Business with Illinois program, which is designed to establish ties in manufacturing, agriculture, biotechnology and education. The trip will also pave the way for Illinois companies to take advantage of business opportunities as Brazil invests $150 billion of public money to build out its transportation and physical infrastructure.
While in São Paulo, the governor will address the Brazil travel trade industry to encourage Brazilians to visit Illinois. The opportunity to attract more international tourism spending to Illinois is significant, with 1.5 million Brazilians visiting the U.S. in 2011, but less than 4 percent traveling to Illinois. At each of the three stops in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, and Recife, Governor Quinn will hold meetings with key private sector leaders, top government officials and potential trading partners in order to open up more markets to Illinois companies.
The state is also working with Illinois colleges and universities to attract more Brazilian students. Last year, the Brazilian government unveiled plans to fund 100,000 scholarships to send students abroad to study science, engineering and math. The program, called Science Without Borders, provides scholarships for one year of study at colleges and universities in the U.S.
For the current academic year, nine Illinois universities and colleges are hosting 91 Brazilian students through the program. The mission will build on this strong foundation and expand the relationship. A number of Illinois companies have made plans to donate scholarship funds for Brazilians to attend Illinois universities for the 2013 to 2014 school year. In addition, some Illinois companies will also provide internships to Brazilian students through the Science Without Borders program.
For updates on Governor Quinn’s trip, visit www.Illinois.gov or follow him on Twitter at @GovernorQuinn. More information about Illinois trade and business opportunities can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website at www.illinoisbiz.biz.
© Illinois Science and Technology Coalition
Illustration by Dieter Braun