CORK companies wishing to develop more trade in the US market will have free use of offices and phones in Illinois.
Members of a high-powered trade delegation from Chicago, who are on a fact-finding mission in Cork, revealed the initiative yesterday.
Bill Gaynor, a professional US lobbyist, said that Cork IT companies seeking markets in the US would be accommodated in Illinois offices free of charge for up to six months.
As part of the pact Cork County Council has agreed to provide similar facilities here for American companies wishing to do business in the region.
The initiative was revealed by Mr Gaynor, one of the officials on the US delegation visiting Cork.
The highly influential delegation also includes the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn.
Mr Gaynor addressed a county council meeting in County Hall yesterday, where he forecast that the business development pact between Cork County Council and the Illinois group would reap great rewards.
The local authority and the Illinois group have expanded their relationship in recent years.
As a result, the latest visit by the Americans will focus on developing links in biotech industries.
Mr Gaynor said Cork was seen to be at the forefront of such industries and that further business could be grown from them.
The delegation is to visit a number of places in Cork, including UCC, Cork Institute of Technology,the Tyndall Institute and the agricultural research station at Moorepark, near Fermoy.
The mayor of County Cork, Councillor Tom Sheahan, said that lobbyists like Bill Gaynor were able to open many doors in the US, which otherwise would be out of reach to small Irish companies
Cllr Alan Coleman, FF leader on the council, claimed the US delegation was the most powerful ever to come to Cork.
“It is the start of a very important week for us,” said county manager Martin Riordan.
“The biotechnological mission is pinnacle of work done to date by both sides. Access in America a very valuable commodity,” he added.
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