CHICAGO - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, today discussed her successful efforts on the international stage to strengthen economic ties between Illinois and the Indo-Pacific and bring major investments to our state during a fireside chat hosted by City Club Chicago. Duckworth has led a series of Congressional Delegation trips to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and more to highlight the benefits of Illinois’s major exports as well as its position as a prime location for business expansion and investment in the U.S.—touting the state’s strong workforce, educational and research institutions, and energy and transportation infrastructure. Duckworth was in conversation today with Dan Seals, CEO of Intersect Illinois. Photos from today’s event are available here.

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On her work to champion Illinois abroad: “As a hub of agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and technology, Illinois is the ideal location for greater investment from international businesses, and I’m committed to helping bring home the kinds of investments that create good-paying jobs and strengthen our state’s economy,” Duckworth said. “As a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am dedicated to promoting Illinois on a global level. Illinois is ready to help bring our world into the future—and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure the whole world knows it.”

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On Illinois’s efforts to maximize federal investment: “Coordination across all levels of government is key to maximizing investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act,” Duckworth said. “I was proud to champion these laws at the federal level, but passing these laws only gets us part of the way there—it’s why I’m proud Illinois is prioritizing creating coalitions across educational institutions, corporate partners, civic and government leaders to make sure our state is doing everything in its power to make generational change through these federal initiatives.”

On the importance of diplomacy throughout the Indo-Pacific: “Asia represents an incredible market opportunity for American companies to sell goods, especially Illinois companies. Some of our biggest exports to these countries are things that we make right here in our state, like corn, soybeans and pork,” Duckworth said. “Asia is also home to some of our strongest military allies and many incredibly innovative companies who I want to help convince to invest more in Illinois. I think it’s important to work closely with these countries and their leaders and make sure they understand how well Illinois meets all the needs that they're looking for.”

Duckworth is a proven leader on strengthening our relations with Indo-Pacific nations and security in the region while successfully securing significant international investments in Illinois. Last month Duckworth traveled to Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines and earlier this year, she traveled to Japan to meet with government, trade and economic leaders as well as corporate and business officials to highlight how Illinois is uniquely positioned for greater investment and increased exports with international partners. Following her last trip, Japan announced a regulatory change that will lead to an increase in imports from U.S. biofuel producers, supporting our farmers and growing Illinois’s economy.

Last year, she also traveled to South Korea and Taiwan where she met with business, government and trade leaders, which helped lead to a joint venture between Illinois’s ADM and South Korea’s LG Chem, as well as a commitment from Taiwan to purchase an estimated $2.6 billion of our Illinois’s corn and soybeans. Duckworth also successfully included a modified version of her Strengthen Taiwan’s Security Act in last year’s NDAA to help Taiwan strengthen its military defenses. In 2018, Duckworth visited South Korea and Japan. In 2019, Duckworth led a bipartisan delegation to Japan and Singapore.

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