Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is scheduled to depart for China on Friday to lead an delegation of Illinois business and educational leaders. The governor told reporters this week he hopes his eight day mission will help improve trade relations with the country - and boost the Illinois economy.
Quinn said an increase in exports will create more jobs in Illinois.
"I don't think any state in the union that really wants to get more jobs should miss the opportunity to interact with other countries that either want to invest in our state or want to buy our goods and services," said Quinn. "That's part of the job of a governor nowadays, especially in the 21st century."
The delgation is scheduled to stop in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, where Illinois first opened a trade office in 1983.
Quinn said he plans to sign an agreement with China that would increase soybean exports. China, according to Quinn, is the third largest exporter for Illinois, behind Canada and Mexico.
According to the governor's office, Illinois exports to China have grown recently, totaling more than $3 billion dollars last year. Key exports include machinery, electronics, chemicals and agricultural products.
During his mayoralty, Richard M. Daley made several visits to China to promote business and tourism in Chicago. And Quinn hopes his visit will further encourage Chinese tourism to Illinois, which grew to 97-thousand visitors in 2010.
The governor also plans to visit Japan for a conference at the end of his trip to China. He is scheduled to return to Illinois on September 24. This is Quinn's second trip abroad this year -- he visited Israel in July.