Business & Economy
Governor Quinn Announces Japanese Manufacturer Investing $35 Million to Expand Illinois Facility PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Monday, 03 October 2011 08:32

Continues Business and Economic Trade Mission throughout Asia

SPRINGFIELD – September 26, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Japanese manufacturer Sakae Riken Kogyo Co. is investing $35 million to expand its Peru facility and create 25 new Illinois jobs. Today’s announcement is one of several business and economic partnerships the Governor has announced during his trade mission throughout Asia, and builds upon his aggressive goal of doubling exports by 2014.

“The relationships we’re building as a result of our outreach in the Asia market will help Illinois maintain its global standing and create jobs for us at home.” Governor Quinn said. “This project is another example of a strong Japanese company making the decision to locate or expand its domestic operations in Illinois where a company can not only thrive but build for the future.”

Sakae Riken Kogyo Co, which is operating under the name of Eakas Corporation, will expand its existing facility in Peru from 257,000 square feet to 537,000 square feet in order to support its next generation of manufacturing. Eakas Corporation produces plastic parts and other decorative trims for the automotive industry. Completion of the new plating line will make Eakas the only manufacturer in North America to provide color molding, paint, hydrographics™ and chrome decorative finish components under one roof.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is providing a $675,000 Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) Flex Grant to the village of Peru to assist with local infrastructure improvements in support of the facility. Illinois’ CDAP program - known nationally as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program - supplies federal funding for community-based projects. Communities with populations of 50,000 or less can apply for CDAP-Flexible Opportunity grant funding to support a variety of projects that provide significant community benefits but fall outside of other CDAP program parameters.

“The Peru facility will provide a much greater global presence for Eakas Corporation, with farther reaching global expansion slated in the future for Sakae  Riken,” said Tom Mori, president, Eakas Corporation. “The long-term, outstanding effort by the current and past Eakas employees has allowed Eakas to enjoy the reputation of being an outstanding supplier of decorative parts in the automotive industry and is the primary reason why we are expanding in Illinois. This project wouldn’t have been possible without the outstanding efforts of Governor Quinn, the state of Illinois and the city of Peru.”

“We live in an increasingly global society and our global partnerships will be key to our long-term economic growth,” said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. “Through our aggressive set of business programs, we’re able to help businesses of all kinds grow and prosper.”

The state of Illinois is also providing Eakas with a $50,000 grant through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program. DCEO is administering a $334,250 business investment package consisting of tax credits spread out over a 10 year period to support job creation, and a job training grant to help the company’s workforce remain on the cutting edge. The company is also eligible to receive local benefits from being located in an Enterprise Zone. The city is providing enhanced infrastructure capabilities including waste water treatment and electrical capacity.

"I would like to thank everyone from the city of Peru that participated in helping bring this $35 million expansion effort to Peru, our partners at the state of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Eakas Corporation for their confidence in the city of Peru," said Scott J. Harl, Mayor of Peru.

While in Japan, Governor Quinn is attending the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association’s annual meeting and talking with a number of Japan-based companies that have a presence in Illinois.

For updates on Governor Quinn’s trip, visit www.Illinois.gov or follow him on Twitter at @GovernorQuinn. More information about Illinois trade and business opportunities can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website at www.illinoisbiz.biz.

 

 

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Q&A: Oversight of the SEC PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 03 October 2011 08:10

Q&A on the Securities and Exchange Commission

with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Q:        What’s the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission?

A:        The SEC was created during the Great Depression, in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, when the public’s faith in capital markets needed to be restored.  The agency is supposed to strengthen investor confidence by providing transparent, reliable information and rules for fair, orderly and efficient markets.  This should help facilitate the capital formation necessary for economic growth and job creation.  When the agency fails to meet its mission, the negative repercussions can impact anyone with investments monitored by the SEC, including investments in pension and other retirement funds.

Q:        How did you get involved in oversight of the SEC?

A:        I’m committed to the work of congressional oversight, and there’s a great need for it with the SEC.  Four years ago, based on information from a whistleblower and the work of my investigative staff, I spelled out in a comprehensive report (with then-Senator Arlen Specter) how the SEC Inspector General failed to investigate credible allegations by a former SEC attorney that his supervisor pulled punches in an investigation because of one Wall Street witness’ political clout.  The report hit a nerve and, ultimately, the SEC attorney who blew the whistle was vindicated.  Last year, the SEC finally obtained a $28 million settlement from the capital management company in question and paid the attorney years of back pay in a settlement related to his termination.

Adding to that, last March, a new Inspector General of the SEC issued a stinging rebuke of an agency program created more than 20 years ago to help target insider trading and securities fraud by rewarding agency employees who spoke up and shared valuable information.  Last summer, knowing that the SEC missed the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history in the Bernard Madoff case, a colossal mishap that might have been avoided if the SEC had paid attention to whistleblower information, Congress passed legislation I authored to dramatically beef up a whistleblower office inside the SEC.  I’m still working to make sure that office is strengthened as the law calls for, and not weakened by institutional ego.  Every source of information is needed to combat financial fraud.  Both investors and taxpayers are exposed by wrongdoing.  I want to see the SEC embrace whistleblowers because they can help with the mission.  Whistleblowers could help stop another Madoff.

Q:        How can the public have confidence that the SEC isn’t too close to the industry it oversees, especially the big players?

A:        A revolving door between agency staff and the investment firms and banks they oversee has led to concerns of coziness and the soft-pedaling of potential criminal cases.  Last year, the SEC Inspector General identified cases where the revolving door appeared to be a factor in staving off enforcement actions and other types of oversight, including cases involving Bear Stearns and the Stanford Ponzi scheme.  I offered an amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial services reform bill to extend the cooling-off period at financial agencies to two years and to require a list of former agency employees who are representing clients before their former agencies.  Unfortunately, my amendment was blocked by the bill sponsors.  These reforms plus better record-keeping by the SEC are needed to help maintain the regulator’s integrity and preserve the public trust in a balanced playing field.

This year, I’m working to make sure the SEC is held accountable for what it does with referrals of suspicious trading activity from one of the biggest and most powerful hedge funds.  How the SEC handled specific referrals will shed light on how the enforcement system works.

I also highlighted the big divide between the stated policy of the SEC and its actual practice of providing information to the securities industry about the criminal law enforcement intentions of the Department of Justice.  The SEC enforcement manual, which was revised after the 2007 Grassley-Specter report, is undermined if the SEC relays to potential targets of investigation exactly what the Justice Department has in store for them.

Separately, I’ve helped to shed light on the actions of the SEC’s former General Counsel David Becker.  After missing the Madoff scam, the top leadership of the SEC let one of its own who profited from a Madoff account craft the commission’s position on how to treat Madoff victims.  The agency let this major conflict of interest slide and then tried to cover it up.  After a comprehensive report, the Inspector General has referred Mr. Becker’s case to the Justice Department, but the SEC’s ethical standards need to be stronger, consistent and uniformly applied from the executive suite to the rank-and-file employees.

 

Q:        Where else have you scrutinized what’s going on inside the SEC?

A:        This year, an enforcement lawyer at the agency wrote to me and outlined what he said was the agency’s destruction of least 9,000 files between 1993 and 2010, all related to initial inquiries into possible wrongdoing on Wall Street.  The lawyer said these files were destroyed as a routine matter of internal SEC policy, but that the shredding might have compromised enforcement cases against Madoff, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, and the SAC Capital hedge fund.  I pressed for a full accounting.  In response, the National Archives said the SEC “did not have the authority to dispose of” the records in question under federal law.  And, the SEC directed staff to stop destroying preliminary investigative documents until further notice.  Keeping records is common sense in law enforcement.  You never know what might be valuable information.  Complete records also may help keep the agency honest and inoculate against compromised ethics and biases.

The promises of financial system reform will be empty if the top enforcement agency for free and fair markets is ineffective.  I will continue to work for accountability and necessary reforms of the SEC.

 

Friday, September 23, 2011

 
HUD AWARDS IOWA $1.1 MILLION TO HELP LOW-INCOME FAMILIES RECEIVE JOB TRAINING, EMPLOYMENT PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Donna White   
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 11:16

HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV/FSS) supports public housing agencies (PHAs) to retain or hire family self-sufficiency coordinators.  These coordinators in turn link adults in the HCV program with welfare agencies, schools, businesses and other local partners to develop the skills and experience to enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage. The local organizations typically provide participating individuals job training, childcare, counseling, transportation, job placement and homeownership counseling.

 

Housing agencies in Iowa received the following grants:

IOWA

 

 

 

Central Iowa Regional Housing Authority

$57,529

 

City of Cedar Rapids

$138,000

 

City of Des Moines Municipal Housing Agency

$132,973

 

City of Dubuque

$63,478

 

City of Sioux City Housing Authority

$138,000

 

Eastern Iowa Regional Housing Authority

$139,940

 

Iowa City Housing Authority

$121,721

 

Mid Iowa Regional Housing Authority

$23,528

 

Municipal Housing Agency of Council Bluffs, IA

$48,676

 

Municipal Housing Agency of the City of Fort Dodge

$102,766

 

Muscatine, City of

$55,309

 

Northeast Nebraska Joint HA

$40,756

 

Region XII Regional Housing Authority

$45,000

 

Southern Iowa Regional Housing Authority

$43,850

Iowa Total:

 

$1,151,526

 

Participants in the HCV-FSS program sign a contract that requires the head of the household will get a job and the family will no longer receive welfare assistance at the end of the five-year term.  As the family’s income rises, a portion of that increased income is deposited in an interest-bearing escrow account.  If the family completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including a down payment on a home, paying educational expenses, starting a business or paying back debts.

 

HUD’s Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a long-standing resource for increasing economic security and self-sufficiency among participants.  HUD issued a new report earlier this year

that evaluated the effectiveness of the FSS Program.  Conducted from 2005 to 2009, the study shows the financial benefits are substantial for participants who complete the program.  This study is the second of a three-part series by HUD that evaluate the effects of the FSS program.  The first study found individuals who participated in the FSS program fared better financially than those who did not enroll in the program.  HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) will launch the third and final installment to complete the series this year.

 

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Governor Quinn Announces Major Trade Partnerships Between Illinois and China PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Nafia Khan   
Thursday, 22 September 2011 14:46

Announces Business and Education Agreements to Further Expand Partnerships, Trade and Investment Between Illinois and China 

SHANGHAI, CHINA – September 22, 2011. Continuing his trade mission in China, Governor Pat Quinn today visited Shanghai where he announced major steps to build upon Illinois’ role as a leading competitor in the global marketplace. While in Shanghai the Governor took part in several economic development and education agreements that will help pave the way for continued trade and innovation between Illinois and China.

“I am committed to making sure that Illinois is a top competitor in today’s global marketplace, and our trade and education partnerships with China are a vital part of that.” Governor Quinn said. “The agreements and programs our two regions are announcing today build upon those efforts to expand our economies, while also boosting innovation and growing technologies.”

Among the business agreements Governor Quinn announced today was a $70 million corn products sales agreement between C&D (USA) Inc., an Illinois-based agricultural export company, and Xiamen C&D Inc. Beginning today, C&D (UDA) Inc. will sell 250,000 metric tons of Illinois corn products to China-based Xiamen C&D, Inc. for $70 million.

C&D USA is a subsidiary of Xiamen C&D. This export agreement will further Governor Quinn’s aggressive goal of doubling Illinois exports by 2014. China is Illinois’ third largest export destination, and is among the top five states exporting agricultural products to China. In 2011, Illinois ethanol plants sold 200,000 metric tons of corn products to C&D USA for approximately $45 million. C&D USA plans to purchase 250,000 metric tons of corn products from Illinois ethanol plants in 2012 for an estimated $56 million.

Governor Quinn participated in the signing of agreements to further strengthen the business, educational and cultural relationship between Illinois and China. The agreements include a sister river agreement between the state of Illinois and the Shanghai Water Association. Under the agreement, the association and the state will work together to share policies and innovative ideas to preserve the Illinois and Huangpu Rivers.

The Governor also participated in the signing of a sister city agreement between Morton, Ill. and Tiantai County in Zhejiang Province, which will provide opportunities to promote economic development, trade, education, science and technology, and cultural exchange and tourism between the two cities. Tianti-based Zhejiang Yinlun Machinery Co, previously selected Morton as the location of its first U.S. headquarters.

An additional agreement signed today between Zhejiang Province and Illinois was the 1,000 School Initiative to enhance educational opportunities between the two regions. Under this sister schools’ agreement, the state of Illinois and Zhejiang Province will work together to make sure that students from both areas receive quality educations. The agreement will allow Illinois and Zhejiang Province to partner in training school staff, hosting summer and winter camps for students, and teaching elementary and secondary education students about the history, culture and languages of both parties.

As an economic and business center of China, Shanghai is known for attracting investment from many overseas companies. Its open policy has made it a magnet for foreign investors. Places like ”The Bund” and ”Pudong,” which have evolved rapidly in past few years in Shanghai, have increased the city’s role in

international finance, banking and trade. Shanghai has a strong base in manufacturing and technology. With many technology parks and industrial districts, Shanghai is also the leading industrial base of China.

For updates on Governor Quinn’s trip, visit www.Illinois.gov or follow him on Twitter at @GovernorQuinn. More information about Illinois trade and business opportunities can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website at www.illinoisbiz.biz.

 

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Governor Quinn Announces Centers Opening to Sell More Illinois Products in China PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Nafia Khan   
Thursday, 22 September 2011 08:18
American Goods Centers to Open This Fall in Beijing, Shanghai

 

SHANGHAI – September 21, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn continued his trade mission in China by visiting Shanghai where he announced Illinois exports will soon be more readily available to Chinese consumers. The Governor attended a reception hosted by the American Goods Center to announce plans to open centers in both Shanghai and Beijing this fall.

“Continued trade and cooperation with China will help Illinois remain at the cutting edge of the global marketplace,” Governor Quinn said. “We are committed to working alongside the people of China on issues such as education, tourism and trade in order to help grow our economy for years to come.”

The American Goods Distribution Center in Shanghai will open in October. Work on the American Goods Center in Beijing is almost complete, and it is expected to open this fall. Later this year, the American Goods Centers will open a purchasing office in Chicago and send its first purchasing delegation from China to Illinois to buy Illinois products.

In January, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Chicago where the Beijing International Brand Management Center (BIBMC), along with the Chaoyang District of Beijing and Changning District of Shanghai and the state of Illinois, signed a memorandum of understanding to establish American Goods Centers in Beijing and Shanghai to increase the export of Illinois goods and services to China and to foster more Chinese investment in Illinois.

Under the agreement, the state will recommend Illinois products to the BIBMC – particularly in the agricultural, auto parts and construction machinery sectors – and assist with establishing the purchase center in Chicago. Through the distribution centers, BIBMC will provide intellectual property rights protection, Chinese distribution development, channel construction, marketing and other comprehensive services to Illinois companies in China.

China is Illinois' third largest export destination, and Illinois is among the top five states in agricultural exports to China. Illinois agriculture exports to China have increased each year since 2007, from $149 million to $552 million in 2009. Illinois' overall exports to China in 2009 reached $2.47 billion. In 2010, Illinois’ exports to China reached $3.18 billion, representing a 29 percent increase over 2009. Nearly 30 Chinese companies have invested in Illinois, employing thousands of Illinois residents.

Governor Quinn and the Illinois delegation also visited Shanghai’s Jewish Quarter, once known as the Restricted Sector for Stateless Refugees. During the 1930s, 20,000 Jews fled to Shanghai, which offered visa-free sanctuary to Jews fleeing Nazism. In accordance with a Japanese-issued proclamation, those refugees were relocated to a one-square mile area in the Hongkou District. The Quarter now includes a museum and offers educational tours of the neighborhood.

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