August 7, 2023

Illinois in the United Kingdom: How Trade Missions Advance Economic Growth

As Intersect Illinois continues to enhance its efforts to attract international investment, building strong relationships abroad is essential. Governor Pritzker’s recent trade mission to the United Kingdom brought the unique opportunity to strengthen ties between UK leaders and the more than 40 Illinois business and government leaders who took part in the mission. The visit allowed state leaders to raise Illinois’ profile, recruit new business and enhance relationships, among other things.

Governor Pritzker delivers remarks at the U.S. Embassy Reception on Monday, July 17, 2023, at the US Embassy London in London, United Kingdom. 

“The UK is one of the top foreign investors in Illinois, so this trip is about building on that strength to encourage more British companies to be in Illinois,” said Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals. “We’re making the case for our skilled workforce, our central location, our quality of life, and our international outlook.”

Trade missions are a good way to raise the profile of our state in international markets, and to highlight the state’s unmatched workforce and infrastructure, while also showcasing opportunities in key growth industries. Delegation members in London discussed topics including quantum technology, manufacturing and clean energy.

A group photo during an Embassy Reception on Monday, July 17, 2023, in London, United Kingdom. (Kenneth Steele / Office of the Governor, JB Pritzker)

The visit also provided a unique opportunity to recruit new companies. While the site selection process is lengthy, these visits are a good way to build and maintain relationships abroad. In London, the group met with companies including Tate & Lyle, the Campari Group and UK-based auto companies at the Royal Auto Club. They visited the University of Chicago Booth London campus, where they discussed quantum technology and innovation. All of these visits convened UK-based companies that have the potential for future U.S. expansion.

Trade missions also provide an excellent platform for cross-border collaboration. The UK visit produced Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) that strengthen ties.

  • The bilateral United Kingdom and Illinois MoU aims to advance trade and investment in the manufacturing, energy, technology and life science sectors.
  • At the “Clean Energy & Technology Roundtable,” leaders signed an MoU to strengthen collaboration to create a net-zero energy future. The roundtable provided a forum for ComEd, Ameren, Nicor, and Northshore & People’s Gas to converse with energy companies interested in expanding in the U.S.

The collaboration amongst the Illinois team illustrates the state leaders’ commitment to accelerating economic growth. Missions like this are crucial to building ties so Illinois is top of mind when counterparts overseas are ready to make investments. By building these ties, Illinois is showcasing to the world that we are ready and willing to work together for growth.

Illinois trade mission participants included:

  • Governor JB Pritzker
  • First Lady MK Pritzker
  • Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Speaker of the IL House
  • Anne Caprara, Chief of Staff to Governor Pritzker
  • Andy Manar, Deputy Governor
  • Christy George, First Assistant Deputy Governor
  • Martin Torres, Deputy Governor
  • Sean Rapelyea, Senior Advisor for External Affairs
  • Jordan Abudayyeh, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications
  • Kristin Richards, Director, DCEO
  • Margo Markopoulos, DCEO, Director of Trade and Investment
  • Cas Peters, DCEO, Senior Policy Advisor
  • Dan Seals, Intersect Illinois, CEO
  • Paulina San Millan, Intersect Illinois, VP for Business Development
  • Alan Gogbashian, UK Consul General to Chicago
  • Tim Killeen, University of Illinois, President
  • Jay Walsh, University of Illinois, VP
  • Juan de Pablo, University of Chicago, EVP
  • Raj Echambadi, Illinois Institute of Technology, President
  • Kate Waimey Timmerman, Chicago Quantum Exchange, CEO
  • David Awschalom, Chicago Quantum Exchange, Director
  • Pranav Gokhale, Infleqtion, VP of Quantum Software
  • Carmen Rossi, 8 Hospitality, CEO
  • Meredith O’Connor, JLL, International Director
  • AJ Patton, 548 Enterprise, CEO
  • Jim Reynolds, Loop Capital, CEO
  • Wendell Dallas, Nicor Gas, President and CEO
  • Gil Quiniones, ComEd, CEO
  • Torrence Hinton, People’s Gas and North Shore Gas, President
  • Leonard Singh, Ameren, Chairman and President
  • Kara Demirjian Huss, T/CCI Manufacturing, VP; DCC Marketing, Founder & President
  • Berardino Baratta, MxD, CEO
  • Mark Denzler, Illinois Manufacturing Association, CEO
  • David Boulay, Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, President
  • Michael Jacobson, Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, CEO
  • Rob Karr, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, CEO
  • Jeff Baker, Illinois Realtors Association, CEO
  • Michael Gobber, Illinois Realtors Association, President
  • Brad Tietz, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, VP of Gov. Relations
  • Monica Mueller, Motorola Solutions, VP of Gov. Affairs
  • Dan Lynch, United Airlines, VP of State and Local Govt.
  • John Atkinson, Marsh US in Chicago, Chairman and Managing Director

Illinois – United Kingdom Trade Facts (2022)

  • Illinois exports to UK totaled $1.94B
  • UK is Illinois’ 9th largest export market
  • Illinois ranks 10th among U.S. states in exports to UK
  • Illinois imports from UK totaled $3.14B in 2022, a 139.8% increase since 2009
  • UK is Illinois’ 13th largest import market
  • Illinois ranks 6th among U.S. states in imports from UK

Governor Pritzker participates in a site visit to Battersea Power Station on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, in London, United Kingdom. (Kenneth Steele / Office of the Governor, JB Pritzker)

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