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Pritzker: Illinois close to attracting businesses from United Kingdom

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(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker says his trade trip to the United Kingdom has opened up a “great deal of opportunity” for Illinois.

Pritzker and members of a delegation have been meeting with government, business and education leaders. During a virtual press conference Wednesday from London, Pritzker talked about the intent to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UK to advance trade and economic development goals.

“It really covers a big, broad swath of industries,” Pritzker said. “We have over 850 UK companies that are already doing business in Illinois with 90,000 Illinoisans who are employed by UK-owned companies.”

During one meeting, the governor, House Speaker Chris Welch, and Minister of State at the Department for Business and Trade Nigel Huddleston began laying the groundwork for the establishment of a bilateral United Kingdom and Illinois MoU that would advance manufacturing in energy, technology and life science sectors in both trade and investment.

Pritzker said Illinois is in competition with other states and is in the final stages of some opportunities, but would not provide any more information on the subject.

In the last year alone, Boeing, Tyson Foods, Caterpillar, and several other companies announced they were leaving Illinois for various reasons. Just this month, freight rail car company TTX announced it is moving its headquarters from Chicago to North Carolina.

The state also has been unable to land an EV battery manufacturing plant.

State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, said his district saw automaker Stellantis shutter its plant in Belvidere then announce a $155 million investment in Indiana. The move cost over 1,300 workers their jobs.

“These policies that this administration and the majority party in Illinois continue to push are hurting job creators and hurting families in Illinois,” Sosnowski said in May.

Pritzker hosted a “Clean Energy & Clean Technology” roundtable with Illinois and UK-based energy companies. The parties signed an MoU intending to strengthen collaboration to create what the governor’s office called “a net-zero energy future.”

The delegation returns to Illinois on Thursday.

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