SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn plans to lead a trade mission with business leaders to Mexico City this week to promote trade and expand Mexican tourism in Illinois.
“The mission will strengthen the long-standing bridges between Illinois and Mexico, especially in agriculture, water technology, manufacturing and tourism, to help fuel our state’s economic growth,” Quinn said about the mission, which starts today and ends Saturday.
Tate & Lyle PLC, which has an agricultural products processing facility in Decatur, sees Mexico as a potentially growing market for corn sweeteners and modified food products, said Chris Olsen, the company’s vice president of community and government affairs. Olsen, who participated in a similar trip to Brazil last year, said he appreciates the state’s efforts to create such opportunities.
Tate & Lyle already has a production and sales presence in Mexico, he said.
“Mexico is an important element in our global growth strategy,” Olsen said. “An opportunity like this is a great benefit. Central and South America have growing populations, so it’s where we believe we can grow.”
John Connor, international business adviser at Ervin Equipment in Toledo, said his company, is looking to expand business operations in Mexico. He said the company, which supplies new and used agricultural, oil and gas and transportation equipment globally, has been doing business in Mexico for nearly 25 years.
Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. plans to be one of the sponsors for a reception Thursday in Mexico City, spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said.
“ADM is involved in this mission because we see a bright future for further agricultural development and increasing domestic production in Mexico,” Anderson said. “We believe a good relationship with the Mexican government will continue to help agriculture grow in Mexico, which in turn, will be helpful to ADM and other agriculture and manufacturing businesses in Illinois.”
Bill Wykes, chairman of the Bloomington-based Illinois Soybean Association, said he hopes to receive customer feedback and explore educational opportunities the association could offer.
Wykes said Mexico is the second-largest soybean customer for the United States.
Mexico imported $1.6 billion worth of soybeans, $370 million worth of soybean meal and $194 million worth of soybean oil from the United States in 2011.
“Soybeans are hugely important to the economy of Illinois,” Wykes said. “We represent over 40,000 farmers, soybean growers in Illinois, so we look at it as a good opportunity to meet with some of our customers, and see what … we can to do to help them.”