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Consular corps gathers at UIC to talk international trade

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Gov. Pat Quinn

Gov. Pat Quinn: "We use our diversity to help our trading relationships."

Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

“Universities are a good meeting ground,” said Allan Lerner of UIC’s Office of International Affairs as he looked around the Illinois Room, filled with representatives from consulates around the world.

More than 40 members of the Chicago consular corps met with Gov. Pat Quinn to discuss ways to improve trade and investment with Illinois businesses.

“Illinois is the largest state that exports to the world that is not on a coast,” Quinn said.

“Why are we so strong? We know how to work in a team with people from other places. We have the most diversity of any state in the union. We use our diversity to help our trading relationships.”

The meeting, sponsored June 8 by the Office of International Affairs and the John Nuveen Center, was a chance for consuls and trade commissioners representing nations in South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia to bring their concerns and ideas to Quinn.

“Illinois needs to invest more in South America,” urged Jose Gonzalez Serrano, consul general of Chile.

Brazilian trade representative Stephanie Bergeman suggested opportunities for trade and collaboration in the confectionary industry, strong in both nations, while Helmut Rausch, deputy consul general of Germany, mentioned his country’s interest in renewable energy.

UIC faculty and administrators told the consular corps the university welcomes new opportunities for collaboration.

“Let’s connect,” said Nancy Sullivan, director of the Office of Technology Management.


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