Illinois exports rose more than 17 percent in the first quarter to their highest level in more than a decade. The increase was driven by sales of industrial machinery, petroleum and coal products, automobiles and chemicals. The export of products to build roads and factories in China and Brazil also helped boost the numbers. An announcement from Gov. Pat Quinn's office says exports for January through March reached $17.2 billion. That's compared with $14.7 billion from the same period last year. The governor has set a goal of doubling the state's exports by 2014.
Quinn says he'll meet with world leaders headed to Chicago for the weekend NATO summit in an effort to drum up more business for Illinois. Illinois was the sixth largest exporting U.S. state in 2011.
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