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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Trade in Illinois

This week, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk travels to Illinois to meet with local business leaders and promote President Obama's National Export Initiative. This week's weekly trade spotlight is on the contribution trade brings to the economic recovery of Illinois.

From small towns to big cities, Illinois farms, businesses, workers, and families are engaging in trade. From more and better paying jobs to cheaper goods available in places like grocery stores, trade is a welcome economic stimulus for many in Illinois. Across the state, businesses are reaching out to new consumers from places as varying as Mali and Mexico. By doing so, these companies are supporting new jobs for more Illinois workers. Last year alone, 15,607 companies exported over $41 billion of goods and services.

Throughout the state, small businesses are finding new opportunities to sell their goods throughout the world. Last year over 89 percent of all companies in Illinois that exported goods abroad were companies that employed 500 or fewer workers. Companies like a small engineering firm based out of Mount Prospect have found advantageous opportunities beyond America's borders. This company creates electrical products and sells them to countries like China, Thailand and Ghana. Another company based out of Rockford made their first international sale to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Now this company exports their products to over 40 countries.

Illinois businesses, workers, and families are counting on trade to help them get through tough times and create jobs. In places like the Port of Chicago, where workers ship millions of dollars worth of goods to countries around the world, to the farms outside Peoria where agricultural products like soybean and corn are grown to be enjoyed abroad, trade supports jobs. In Illinois, trade is providing a much needed buffer for Illinois families and businesses. USTR is committed to creating more opportunities through trade for the businesses and citizens of Illinois.