WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) hosted the 2017 Korea-U.S. Investment Forum on June 20 in Washington, D.C. The forum was held in conjunction with the SelectUSA Investment Summit, the largest U.S. Investment-promotion event, and ahead of the U.S.-Korea summit on June 18 through 20.
The Forum provided an opportunity for Korean companies participating in the SelectUSA Summit to explore economic cooperation strategies between Korea and the United States, in line with SelectUSA’s theme, ‘Grow with USA.’
The Minister of Economics at the Embassy of Korea, Hohyun Jang, opened the forum by welcoming both U.S. and Korean companies and government officials. Minister Jang emphasized the importance of investment to strengthening both economies as well as the role of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) in increasing the flow of bilateral investment. “In the five years since the FTA came into force, Koreans have invested nearly 37 billion dollars [in the U.S.], an increase of 60.1 percent,” over the five years before it took effect.
Many attendees – including Evan Hoffman, Director of the Office for International Investment, and officials from nine states including Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia – showed great interest in attracting investment from Korean enterprises.
Later in the event, Korean companies introduced investment strategies and success stories in the United States. Then U.S. officials explained new government projects, followed by briefings on the investment climate in each state. U.S. state officials and Korean investors then broke out into meetings where they had in-depth conversations on opportunities for mutually beneficial investments.
As a follow up to the Forum, KOTRA plans to arrange business meetings for Korean companies with companies in Chicago and the Midwest.
“Through its eight branches in the United States, KOTRA has contributed to the shared prosperity of both countries through economic cooperation,” said WonSok Yun, Executive Vice President for Business Information & Trade at KOTRA. “We will continue to play a role in helping both countries grow together.”
KOTRA (Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) is a non-profit, government agency of Republic of Korea committed to promoting international trade and investment. KOTRA Washington DC is part of KOTRA’s worldwide network of 125 offices in 85 countries, offers a wide variety of initiatives to support U.S. clients.
ABOUT U.S. KOREA CONNECT
The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) is an international partnership designed to promote the free flow of products and services between the United States and Korea. U.S. Korea Connect provides information, tools and resources for businesses interested in taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities available through the KORUS FTA to export goods, services and ideas. Please visit www.uskoreaconnect.orgfor more information or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Opening Remark by the Minister of Economics of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the U.S. – Hohyun Jang
Good morning. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Korea – U.S. Investment Forum during the 2017 Select USA Investment Summit.
Over the years, this Summit has promoted business partnerships and cooperation across the industries of Korea and the United States. The relationships fostered here have played a vital role in strengthening Korea’s efforts to expand its investment activities in the United States.
Five years ago, Korea and the United States showcased our economic partnership to the world through the high-level, comprehensive Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, also known as the KORUS FTA.
Thanks to the KORUS FTA, trade between our countries has surged. Between 2011 and 2016, Korea’s total trade volume with the United States grew at an average annual rate of 1.7%. At the same time, Korea’s trade with the rest of the world decreased 3.5% on average per year due to the worldwide economic slowdown. Korea is now the United States’ 6th largest trading partner, while the United States ranks second for Korea.
The story is similar when it comes to investment. From 2007 to 2011, the year before the FTA was implemented, Korean investment in the United States totaled 23 billion dollars. In the five years since the FTA came into force, Koreans have invested nearly 37 billion dollars here, an increase of 60.1% over the previous five-year period. In 2016 alone, Korea’s FDI in the United States was 12.9 billion dollars.
Based on what we have achieved so far, I believe we can have an even stronger mutually beneficial economic relationship that brings tangible benefits to both our countries. In this context, I’d like to share with you three points to forge a steadfast economic partnership.
First, based on the stronger platform provided by the KORUS FTA, our two countries should seek to increase investment in each other. I hope you will play a critical role in this growth.
Indeed, according to the IMF, “the overall weakness in economic activity, in particular investment, has been the primary restraint on trade growth, accounting for up to three-fourths of the slowdown.”
We all know that foreign investment tends to increase intra-firm trades, which in turn increases trade volume, deepens integration of global value chains, and provides a foundation for R&D and people-to-people exchanges. So it should be one of our highest priorities.
In fact, reinvigorating mutual investment is especially timely these days. We are seeing new windows of opportunity open in emerging industries, like artificial intelligence, big data, and the internet of things. These trends can be summarized by two key phrases: the fourth industrial revolution, and the digital economy. Given the scale of effort required by these new industries, cultivating new markets together makes much more sense than creating them alone.
I believe that today’s sessions will provide some useful guidance in this regard, and I hope to see you, the business leaders of Korea and the United States, using your creativity and opening the horizon of cooperation, for instance in R&D, as you invest more in each other’s country.
Second, to ensure the continued success of the KORUS FTA, our countries should maintain our focus on fuller and more faithful implementation of the agreement.
The trade expansion and trade balance improvement effects of the KORUS FTA are, as I mentioned, all the more significant as they came in the midst of a global economic slowdown. Indeed, the effectiveness of the KORUS FTA is proven, and I hope that it will become an even stronger platform from which our two countries can further build our economic partnership.
Third, as the new administrations in both countries share an emphasis on strengthening their economies through stronger job creation, I see a lot of areas of potential cooperation to benefit and learn from each other’s policies.
Both countries can take maximum advantage of each other’s offerings in areas such as creating a transparent and improved regulatory environment, shared innovative culture, and our vast FTA network.
Honorable business leaders, on behalf of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, I would like to offer my deep gratitude to the organizers of today’s event, and to all of the business owners that are here to promote investment and job creation in both countries. It is my sincere wish that the Korea- Select USA Investment Summit will continue to contribute to closer Korea-US relations by fostering the development of deep and enduring ties in investment and trade.