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London bridges? Pritzker to lead United Kingdom trade mission with state business and education leaders

JB Pritzker speaking at podium
Owen Ziliak
Chicago Sun-Times file
Gov. J.B. Pritzker at The Old Post Office during President Joe Biden’s visit on June 28.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker was planning to jet off to the United Kingdom Tuesday night for the first leg of a trade mission that includes meetings in London to strengthen economic cooperation between Illinois and Great Britain.

Pritzker plans to first attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed from Thursday though Sunday, in West Sussex, where he’ll discuss the state’s commitment to electric vehicle manufacturing with automobile and parts manufacturing leaders, the governor’s office said. He’ll also speak on a panel titled “Lawmakers and Infrastructure: The Context for the New Mobility.”

On Sunday, the governor will join a delegation of business and education leaders to meet with counterparts in London to discuss economic cooperation when it comes to manufacturing, clean energy and technology, quantum, hospitality and real estate. The governors’ office said Pritzker will return to Illinois on July 20.

Pritzker in January traveled to Davos, Switzerland, to speak at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and promote the state’s achievements. And more international trips are in the works, according to his office.

“Now that travel is easier post-COVID, the governor’s office is looking forward to planning more international trips, including to Asia, potentially Canada, and also Mexico,” spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh told the Sun-Times.

First Lady M.K. Pritzker, Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, and Pritzker’s chief of staff Anne Caprara are among those joining Pritzker on the London mission trip.

Education leaders include University of Illinois President Tim Killeen, University of Illinois Vice President Jay Walsh, University of Chicago Executive Vice President Juan de Pablo and Illinois Institute of Technology President Raj Echambadi.

Business leaders embarking on the mission trip include Nicor Gas President Wendell Dallas and People’s Gas and North Shore Gas President Torrence Hinton.

The United Kingdom is Illinois’ 9th largest export market, with Illinois exports to the nation totaling $1.94 billion in 2022.

Tina Sfondeles is the chief political reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times