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Quinn flying down to Rio could actually have benefits

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 4:58 a.m. CDT

The following editorial appeared in The Telegraph, Alton, Ill., on Oct. 1:

(MCT) — Some business leaders have complained about Gov. Pat Quinn, charging he has failed to improve the state’s climate for business.

But the governor’s visit last month to a country with a tropical climate may help to begin changing that perception.

Quinn led an economic trade mission to Brazil, where he announced several economic development and education agreements that he said would facilitate more trade and innovation between Illinois and the South American nation.

The agreements include a sister river agreement between Illinois and the Pernambuco region of Brazil, which calls for them to work together to share policies and innovative ideas to maintain and conserve the Illinois and Capibaribe rivers, as well as promoting economic development for both waterways through sustainable commercial and navigational uses and eco-friendly tourism and recreation activities.

The trade mission also included an agreement between the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paulo to promote trade and investment between Illinois and Brazilian manufacturing companies. It should allow Illinois companies to gain improved access to FIESP member companies and ease their entry into the Brazilian market. Quinn touts the Doing Business with Illinois Program as helping our state’s companies maximize business opportunities resulting from the billions of dollars that Brazil’s government plans to invest in improving its transportation infrastructure across the developing country.

Skeptics may wonder about the effectiveness of these actions in improving our state’s business climate, and there’s no doubt the proof will be in the pudding. But there is some reason for optimism. Brazil is a growing market, and these steps could position Illinois ahead of other states to take advantage of business opportunities.

Like it or not, we live in a global economy, and Quinn’s trip potentially could warm up the climate for international business in Illinois. But if the trade mission fails to generate enough business for Illinois to cover the cost of the trip, Quinn’s critics will blame it on more than just Rio.

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