Foreign leaders eager to do business with Chicago: mayor
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter email@example.com May 21, 2012 8:50PM
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Updated: July 2, 2012 9:01AM
While many merchants have groaned that sales slowed to a crawl during the NATO Summit, Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the event will prove to be a business boon.
He said not only should the gathering of leaders move Chicago up the ladder on the list of places to visit, but he said some of those leaders have already talked about increasing partnerships with city.
Several of those leaders visited the city for the first time, including the prime ministers of Spain, the Netherlands and Britain, Emanuel said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron “met with entrepreneurs at [the summit], and leaders of Chicago companies to expand our economic ties,” Emanuel said.
He said the leader of the Netherlands also wants to deal.
“We talked about making O’Hare the North American hub for the Dutch flower trade, where they control 75 percent of that global industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, the German foreign minister “is interested in further investment in the Chicago area. There are more German companies that are thinking about moving their North American headquarters here to the city of Chicago.”
The summit needs to be viewed as a benefit over the long haul, he said.
“We are 10th in our tourism. We are fighting below our weight class. And if we move to ninth from 10th nationally, that’s 25,000 jobs and a billion dollars worth of economic activity,” he said. “And for a world-class city — the Parises, the Berlins, the New Yorks, Los Angeles — that hosts this type of event, you view that so that you can usher in a type of recognition that will drive tourism.”