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RECEPTION WITH KOREA’S MAJOR INDUSTRY LEADERS

Friday 10 September, 2010

I attended this event Networking RECEPTION WITH THE EXECUTIVES OF KOREA’S MAJOR INDUSTRY LEADERS which featured Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley on the day he announced he is no longer running for re-election as mayor of the city of Chicago.  Here’s what I learned:

Gerry Roper of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce said members of his organization employ 1M employees in/around the Chicagoland area, which was news to me.  He also mentioned that helping their members globally is an increasingly important focus.

Kyung Shik Sohn of the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry, (KCCI is the largest private organization in Korea), informed us that Korea does $8.6B in trade with Chicago.  LG, Samsung, & Korean Air are based here in Chicago.  Motorola & McDonald’s are Chicago firms that are big in Korea.  The US is the #3 exporter to Korea & Korea is the #7 exporter to the US.  The US shipped $5B worth of agricultural products to Korea.  Korean firms invested $35.7B in the US while US firms invested $41.8B in Korea.

Korea’s Consul General in Chicago Chul Huh, a former baseball player,  had to turn down throwing out the 1st ball @ the Cubs game that night to attend the event.

Richard Daley congratulated the Chambers for signing their Memorandum of Understanding, praised Korea for its commitment to democracy, & encouraged both governments to sign the free trade agreement (FTA) between the 2 countries.  He also noted that Korea provides the 3rd largest source of foreign students to Chicago’s public schools.  Interestingly, cameras from NBC, WGN, & other TV stations covered the event, & promptly followed Daley when he left out the door.

Jong-Hyun Choi, Minister of Economic Affairs @ the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C., apparently spent some time in Chicago because he wanted to talk about the Bears, but didn’t because he is a diplomat after all.  Unfortunately Choi’s data conflicts a little bit with Mr. Sohn’s.  Choi let us know the US was Korea’s largest trading partner until 2004, but has been surpassed by China, the European Union, & Japan since then, so we are now #4.  He noted that Korea is the 8th largest market for American manufactured goods.  He said Koreans invested $4B in the US, while American invested $1.5B in Korea.  I don’t know whose numbers are correct.  Korea is bringing its Smartgrid & electric vehicles to Chicago.  Choi also extolled the virtues of an FTA between Korea & the US.  It would eliminate 81% of tariffs immediately, 94% in 3 years, & 100% in 10 years.  This would lead to increased exports of $11B, a reduction in the trade deficit of $4B, an increase in GDP of $12B, & create 70K jobs.  Failure of the FTA would cost 345K jobs.  An FTA would contribute to the National Export Initiative of doubling US exports in the next 5 years.  They are entering the home stretch for these negotiations & hope Obama will have something to say when he visits Korea later this year for a G20 Summit.

Mike Glynn of ITW bought Daelim to serve automobile manufacturers & now imports $8M from Korea.  David Habinger of Sonic Solutions has been working with LG & Samsung for 12 years & noted Seoul is very similar to Chicago. Jae Ho Oh of Kotra Chicago gave concluding remarks.

Here are the firms from which Korean Industry Leaders attended:

the following companies were represented by the KCCI

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