Durbin Meets with Illinois Businesses to Discuss Opportunities to Export to Africa

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with the Corporate Council on Africa – which included representatives from two Illinois companies – to discuss challenges faced by U.S. companies that want to do business in Africa.  Durbin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee listened to the group’s ideas on how the U.S. government can more effectively help American companies compete in the African market, particularly against China. 

“For businesses – both large and small – that are ready to grow but need customers who are ready to buy, there may not be enough demand here at home.  That’s why it’s so important to find customers wherever they may be,” said Durbin.  “Since 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the US, our businesses need to be able to export effectively to take advantage of the growth that the world markets can support.  Africa offers a compelling market with a burgeoning middle class, one in which the Chinese are already aggressively selling their goods but with minimal human rights, political or environmental standards.”

Representatives from Chicago-based Boeing and Schaumburg-based Motorola attended today’s meeting.  Moline-based John Deere is also a part of the Corporate Council on Africa but a representative was unable to attend today’s meeting due to weather.  The Corporate Council on Africa, one of the largest business associations focusing on the U.S.-Africa commercial relationship, aims to strengthen and facilitate the commercial relationship between the U.S. and the African continent. The group works closely with governments, multilateral groups and business to improve the African continent's trade and investment climate, and to raise the profile of Africa in the U.S. business community.

Earlier this year, Durbin hosted The Illinois Small Business Export Promotion Forum which brought together leading export officials from the Obama Administration in Chicago to promote the services the federal government offers to help small businesses increase their sales overseas.