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Korea-US Business Partnership Forum

Tuesday 29 September, 2009

I checked out this event KORUS (Korea-U.S.) Business Partnership Forum & KOREA EXPO 2009 at Navy Pier organized by Kotra, the Korean Office of Trade & Investment, Invest Korea, & the Korean Ministry of Knowledge & Economy.  Here’s what I learned:

from Jongtae Chung, Trade Commissioner, Kotra-Chicago:

  • Korea’s 2009 growth is 2.3-2.5% & unemployment of 3.8%, despite the recessionary economy & exports shrinking 22.3%
  • The US (11%) is Korea’s 2nd largest export destination after China (21.7%), & 3rd biggest source of imports (9.45%) after China, (16.53%) & Japan (14.29%).
  • Due to a smaller decline in exports compared to other countries, Korea’s trade ranking has improved from #12 to #9 during the crisis.
  • Korea is managing the crisis well by stockpiling foreign reserves, maintaining low debt ratios & fiscal surpluses.
  • Korea’s credit ratings have increased from B to A, & GNI per capita has tripled from $7300 to $20,000 from 1997 to 2007.
  • Korea ranks #13 in terms of global competitiveness & #9 in terms of innovation according the the WEF.
  • In terms of information technologies, Korea ranks #3 in broadband subscribers, #6 in investment in telecommunications as % of GDP, & #14 in technological infrastructure, all according to IMD.

from Prof. Sungjoon Cho of Chicago Kent College of Law:

  • Korea is the 2nd largest export destination in Asia for US services.
  • Korea leads the world in household broadband penetration (95%).
  • Korea’s labor productivity lags the US in many services (US=100; Korean wholesale/retail=22.1, business support=42.3, transportation=46.7, finance=63.6, telecom=73.7), which creates opportunity for Americans.

from Civa Yam, of the US-China Chamber of Commerce:

  • US companies can leverage Korean companies successes in China
  • Korean & US companies are complementary in approaching China

Representatives from 3M & Parker-Hannifin described their successes in Korea while speakers from Korean companies Hyundai, YS-Thermatech, & Unison talked about their successes in Korea, the US, & the world.  The Korean Products show was very well-organized-each industry pavilion was color-coded so attendees knew what product groups they were seeing. They assured me they would send over the presentations, but haven’t yet.

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