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Building Relationships: The Key to Making Illinois a Top Location for FDI

October 10, 2018

This post is part of SelectUSA’s EDO Spotlight series, highlighting the work of EDOs around the country recruiting foreign direct investment, how that work supports jobs and economic growth across the United States, and how SelectUSA partners with EDOs to support economic development.

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Mark Peterson is President & CEO of Intersect Illinois

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is key to the economic renaissance underway in Illinois. With more than 1,800 foreign owned companies already calling Illinois home and contributing more than $100 billion to the state’s GDP, the potential for growth is tremendous.

Relationship building on an international scale is crucial to Illinois’ foreign investment strategy. Over the past year, Intersect Illinois has built strong international relationships while promoting the state’s assets. Intersect has taken part in jobs missions to China, Japan, Germany, Poland, and Italy and hosted multiple delegations from these countries that have directly resulted in investment in Illinois.

The Intersect Illinois booth at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 18-20, 2018.

The Intersect Illinois booth at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 18-20, 2018.

A recent example of the results is Faber-Castell Cosmetics’ announcement of its first North American manufacturing facility in Illinois. The German company’s state-of-the-art $9 million manufacturing plant in Elgin will create 50 full-time jobs. The decision to locate in Illinois came after Intersect Illinois led a trip to Germany, where the delegation (including the governor) met with Faber-Castell’s leaders.

Intersect Illinois also coordinated a visit to China and Japan, that included meetings with companies such as Aisin Seiki (employs 843 people in Illinois), Sakae Riken Kogyo Co., Ltd. (which employs more than 400 in Illinois), and Toyota Boshoku, which has a plant in Lawrenceville. The team also met Caterpillar China, toured Wanxiang Group, and met with more than 60 businesses.

Following the visit, Intersect Illinois welcomed the newly appointed Japanese Ambassador to Illinois on a visit that focused on advancing the state’s business partnerships with Japan. This was part of the consul-general of Japan in Chicago’s Grassroots Caravan program to highlight the contributions of Japanese companies to local economies.

The group toured local Schaumburg companies to see the latest manufacturing innovations and learn more about Illinois’ workforce. The visit reinforced the benefits of foreign direct investment, while showcasing Illinois as a premier location for Japanese companies to grow.

Additionally, Intersect Illinois attended a SelectUSA event in three cities in Italy, meeting with several Italian companies interested in opening operations in the United States. Following the trip, Intersect hosted site tours for Cembre S.p.A, a company from Verona, Italy that attended the SelectUSA event. In August, Cembre opened a sales office in Schaumburg, with plans to distribute its imported products. Intersect also recently hosted site tours for another Italian manufacturer it met in Italy, which is looking to launch its first U.S.-based manufacturing operation.

Through proactive outreach, Intersect Illinois’ project pipeline has nearly quadrupled over the past year; the team is currently working on nearly 100 business attraction projects, more than 50 percent of which are FDI projects. That number is expected to grow as Intersect Illinois continues to market the state’s rich assets around the globe.

With the world’s 17th largest economy, Illinois is a proven global player and an excellent destination for international business. For more details on Intersect Illinois’ comprehensive FDI strategy, or how Illinois supports global companies, visit www.IntersectIllinois.org.