— Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is on a six-day, non-taxpayer funded economic development trip to South Korea. “On behalf of Illinois businesses, I look forward to strengthening existing relationships and building new ones with companies in South Korea,” said Rutherford.
In addition to meetings with several governmental and business leaders, Rutherford’s trip includes visits with Illinois troops stationed in South Korea, a visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone along the 38th parallel, a gathering in Seoul with alumni from various Illinois universities, events with Chicago’s sister city, Busan, and meetings regarding Smart Grid technology with the Korean Smart Grid Institute.
During one especially significant meeting, Rutherford will work to facilitate the expansion of a South Korean energy-solutions company to Central Illinois. The agreement would immediately create several technology-related jobs in the region with the possibility of further expansion.
Because of the free trade agreement signed between the United States and South Korea earlier this year, Rutherford intends to encourage Korean leaders to expand their imports from Illinois. The state already exports more than $800 million to South Korea annually.
Chicago attorney Steve Kim is accompanying Rutherford on the trip. Kim leads a volunteer panel of professionals that audit the State Treasurer’s Office programs for efficiencies and serves as a trusted advisor to Rutherford on business issues. “I am enthused about this trip because of our opportunity to promote Illinois with this trading partner. Building relationships with small and medium sized Korean businesses is key. The potential for mutual benefits between Illinois and these partners is vast,” said Kim.
“This trip is a great opportunity to enhance the economic and political ties between Illinois and South Korea,” said Rutherford. “I also want to point out that no taxpayer dollars are being used to fund my trip.”