The South Korean ambassador to the U.S. comes to Rockford to strike a deal to help area businesses. A new agreement will give companies a direct line to the Korean market. The idea came about as South Korea looks to expand its own development and hopes one of Rockford's biggest industries can help.
"In Korea we are seriously thinking about what new areas are the sources of economic growth and we think for that purpose IT is an important business as well as PT. But at the same time we think aerospace is a very important industry sector," says Ambassador Ahn Ho-young.
That's why the South Korean ambassador made a stop at the Chicago/Rockford International Airport. The visit included signing a partnership between the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) and the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).
"The partnership is a wonderful opportunity to help Rockford area companies come together with interested parties in South Korea. In many cases small to medium size businesses don't have the opportunity to network with small to medium size businesses that are looking to open up markets and relationships," says Don Thayer, RAEDC president.
RAEDC and its Korean partner KOTRA will serve as a kind of match-maker to their country's businesses to try to bring the right ones together. This is no small deal, Rockford companies depend a lot on their Asian counterparts.
"The Rockford area has actually had a huge increase in trade in the past year when nationally trade has gone down. In fact with regard to Korea nationally trade with Korea is down 3% because of the economy with the Rockford area it's up by 17%," says Don Manzullo, Korea Economic Institute of America.
"In the government of Korea we are determined to work with you so that we will be able to go in the direction of further strengthening economic ties between Korea and the United States," says Ambassador Ahn Ho-young.
This partnership agreement between RAEDC and its Korean counterpart is the first one the country has ever signed with a not-for-profit. In the past all the others have been with businesses.
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