Bruce Rauner, the governor of the U.S. state of Illinois, addresses a reception held in the U.S. city of Chicago on Sept. 28, 2017 to celebrate the 68th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. (Xinhua/Liu Yifang)
The governor of the U.S. state of Illinois has shown a strong interest in expanding mutually-beneficial cooperation with China in areas ranging from trade to tourism and to educational exchanges.
"I'm a believer in more trade and more investment, especially with the people of China. So I look forward to doing whatever I can to expand it," Bruce Rauner told Xinhua in an interview on the sidelines of a reception held here on Thursday to celebrate the 68th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Rauner is eager to strengthen relationship with China in an all-round way. "I want to expand trade, I want to expand investment, to expand tourism, and expand exchange of students between Illinois and China," he said.
"I believe that China, in the future, will be Illinois' greatest partner, and greatest friend. I want to do everything I can to expand our friendship," Rauner said.
Talking about his trip to China earlier this month, Rauner said that "we met with dozens of chief executives who lead Chinese companies."
"And we were very honored to sign a memorandum of understanding between Zhejiang University in Hangzhou and the University of Illinois, so we can expand the number of students who are studying in each university, so we can expand our education opportunities," he said.
With a population of nearly 13 million, the most populous state in the U.S. Midwest region has a long friendship with China. Its export to China reached 5.11 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.
China has 50 companies headquartered in Illinois, which has a diverse economic base and serves as a major transportation hub, while 400 Illinois companies have a base in China.
"I've been there (China) twice so far, I look forward to going again," Rauner said.
Speaking of the first China-U.S. social and people-to-people dialogue held in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Rauner said he is a supporter of the dialogue and that the state of Illinois will create opportunities for this kind of exchanges between the two countries.
Trade between China and the U.S. Midwest states has flourished in recently years. Statistics show that annual trade volume between China and the nine U.S. Midwest states has exceeded 90 billion dollars. More than 200 Chinese companies have invested in the states, creating more than 46,000 jobs.