Illinois’ state treasurer is back from South Korea, while the governor is now in Spain. The South Korea trip was put together by lawyer Steve Kim, the 2010 Republican candidate for attorney general. “I believe our six-day mission over there really is going to lead to job creation in Illinois and also investment in the state of Illinois,” he said at a news conference Friday in Chicago with the treasurer.
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Treasurer Dan Rutherford met with diplomatic and military officials there, as well as representatives of Illinois companies doing business there, including Caterpillar, Boeing and Leo Burnett, and Korean firms wishing to do business here. He says he’s glad to hear the governor is in Spain on a similar mission now, because attracting business is about more than tax rates and labor costs. “I think it is a good thing that a governor goes. I think that a lot of the reasons that companies will locate will be these statistics things that I talked about, but the other part of it is relationship,” he said.
Rutherford says he expects some of the deals discussed in Korea to bear fruit soon. Specifically, he expects an Illinois company to get a subcontract to provide security barriers for a nuclear power plant that a Korean firm is building in the United Arab Emirates, and a Korean-based LED technology manufacturer is expected to announce the opening of a facility in Central Illinois with a handful of jobs. Illinois exports about $800 million a year to South Korea, mostly agricultural products.