Posts Tagged ‘Korea’

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Bringing Lessons Home From Korea

March 26, 2014
SelectUSA Director Vinai Thummalapally speaks to investors in Korea about services available through the SelectUSA program.

SelectUSA Director Vinai Thummalapally speaks to investors in Korea about services available through the SelectUSA program.

Vinai Thummalapally is the Executive Director of the SelectUSA Program.

South Korea is currently the 16th largest and 14th fastest-growing source of investment in the United States.

That investment has grown rapidly – at a compound annual growth rate of 14.9 percent from 2008 to 2012. The U.S. subsidiaries of Korean companies directly employ more than 32,000 people in the United States, contributing almost $60 billion to the U.S. economy.

These firms export almost $9.7 billion worth of goods from the United States.

Those are great numbers, and we want to see them continue to grow.

To that end, I am excited to announce that our Commercial Service team in Seoul, Korea is hosting a Road Show event on Friday, May 16 – the week before an already announced Japan Road Show. The events will provide an opportunity for U.S. economic development organizations to connect with Korean companies interested in investing or increasing their investment in the United States.

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I recently returned from a trip to Seoul, Korea, where I had the pleasure of meeting with our team at the U.S. Embassy, our partners in the Government of the Republic of Korea, and investors who are interested in setting up shop in the United States. Together we traveled to different companies in Korea to get feedback and talk about their experiences working with the U.S. I also enjoyed sitting down with investors and trade associations to talk about SelectUSA and its services for helping companies expand investment in the U.S. These conversations help inform programming so that participants get the most out of events like the upcoming road shows.

While in Seoul, I joined U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim and Senior Commercial Service Officer Jim Sullivan to welcome officials from Hankook Tires and congratulate them on their announcement of the firm’s first U.S. manufacturing facility in Clarksville, Tennessee. The company is investing more than $800 million in the new plant, which is expected to create approximately 1,800 full-time jobs.

We also met with Samsung to learn more about its significant investments in the United States, including its recently announced project to build a new Silicon Valley R&D Center in Mountain View, California.

Another stop included the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), which represents more than 71,000 companies. We had the opportunity to talk with some of their members about President Obama’s expansion of SelectUSA, including investor visas and how our interagency team at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul – which includes staff from the U.S. Departments of State and Agriculture – can help them invest in the U.S.

We look forward to working with the states, cities, and regional organizations who take advantage of the opportunities at the upcoming Road Show in Korea.

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Advocacy Center Helps Keep the Ball in Colorado’s Court

July 8, 2013

Nicholas Barter is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. He’s a graduate of Eastern Connecticut University, taking graduate courses at the George Washington University.

Representatives from Ball Aerospace and the Korean Aerospace Research Institute signed their business contract during the Trade Winds Asia 2013 trade mission.

Representatives from Ball Aerospace and the Korean Aerospace Research Institute signed their business contract during the Trade Winds Asia 2013 trade mission.

Odds are you don’t need a scanning UV-visible spectrometer. You may not even know what that is. But the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) does need one, and it contracted with Colorado-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to provide it.

Contracts like these will continue to bring quality American-made products to organizations across the globe.

Ball signed the contract with KARI on May 13, and will deliver a scanning UV-visible spectrometer to detect pollution and monitor long-term climate change in the Asia-Pacific region.

The contract will support an estimated 100 American jobs. It also supports Colorado’s top export sector — Computer and Electronics. The sector was the state’s leading merchandise export category in 2012, accounting for $2.1 billion in export sales.

Competing for foreign public contracts can be difficult. There could be a home-field advantage, as foreign governments may want to support their own country’s businesses. There could be artificial roadblocks, customs issues, or any number of potential hurdles.

That’s when the Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center can be helpful.

The Advocacy Center has helped hundreds of small, medium, and large U.S. businesses win contracts across the world. Its goal is to guarantee that U.S. products and services can compete abroad on a level playing field. For this contract, Ball beat out companies from Germany and the Netherlands.

Advocacy Center Regional Manager, Frederick Helfrich, attended the signing of the contract by Ball and KARI during the Trade Winds Asia 2013 trade mission. Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez extended his congratulations to Ball at the mission as well.

If your business is in need of assistance to expand globally, please contact the Advocacy Center. Our team would be glad to help your company compete for foreign government contracts.

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Expanding Business One Year into Free Trade Agreement

March 15, 2013

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service.

Jimmy Wu is the founder of Infinity Air

Jimmy Wu

It’s 8:00 p.m. on a Tuesday evening, and there’s excitement on Jimmy Wu’s face as he hangs up the phone. Cracking a smile, he logs an order for a replacement aircraft engine from Asia. “Business is good and continues to get better,” he says, before picking up the phone to chat with another customer in Latin America.

It’s all in a day’s work for Wu, a native of Shanghai, China, who founded Infinity Air, Inc., in 1997, and serves as its president and CEO. The firm, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer and distributor of new and refurbished aircraft parts for the commercial aerospace industry, serves thousands of customers around the world each year.

Of all the countries in which Infinity Air does business, Wu is particularly impressed with the opportunities in Korea, Infinity Air’s largest export destination. Last year, sales of everything from flight-service controls and engines to interior equipment and cockpit windows to Korea totaled more than $10 million.

In March 2011, the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement took effect, reducing barriers to trade and putting what Wu calls a “spring in the step” of his business endeavors. Infinity Air is taking advantage of the agreement to expand its business in the country.

“Korea is a huge market for us, and with the trade agreement in place, the market just got a whole lot bigger,” Wu says.

An Allflight Corporation (Infinity Air’s Repair Station) technician sands a repair of a movable flap track fairing in preparation for prime and paint.

A technician prepares a repaired aircraft part for painting.

Trade agreements play a large part in America’s recent growth trend in exports. In 2012, a year in which the U.S. achieved exports of $2.2 trillion, exports to trade agreement partners grew at nearly twice the rate of exports to the rest of the world and represented nearly half of all U.S. exports. For the U.S.-Korea agreement, the International Trade Commission estimates that the reduction of Korean tariffs and tariff-rate quotas on goods alone will add $10 billion to $12 billion to annual U.S. Gross Domestic Product and around $10 billion to annual merchandise exports to Korea.

Infinity Air is one of many companies using the agreement to its advantage. Prior to the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement, servicing Korea’s aviation market required payment of Korean tariffs of up to 15 percent on spare parts. Now, almost 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Korea are no longer subject to import duties. Nearly 95 percent of bilateral trade in consumer and industrial products with Korea will become duty free within five years – with most remaining tariffs eliminated within 10 years.

As this trade agreement matures, the International Trade Administration remains ready to help American companies tap into Korea’s $1.1 trillion economy. Whether your company is looking to grow business or seek new opportunities in the market, a visit to export.gov is a great way to start.

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Quick Approval of Trade Agreements is Good News for the American Economy

October 12, 2011

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Earlier tonight, the millions of Americans concerned about jobs got some good news: Congress approved trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama.

It’s been a long journey to this moment, so let me cut right to the chase: Opening new doors of opportunity for U.S. firms to sell their products in these three markets will strengthen our economy and sharpen our competitive edge in the global economy.

It will also support jobs.

Ford Motor Company employees at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI assemble a 2012 Ford Focus.

Ford Motor Company employees at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI assemble a 2012 Ford Focus, one of the vehicles targeted for the Korean market under the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co. Used with permission.

For every billion in U.S. goods exported overseas, more than 5500 jobs are supported here at home.  In total, the three agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs and add billions to the U.S. GDP — reasons for all Americans to cheer.

I commend President Obama for his leadership in creating a balanced trade agenda.  He has worked tirelessly to get the best possible deal for businesses and workers.  Congress also deserves credit.  These measures were passed with bipartisan support.  That both parties were able to find common ground on these issues speaks to positive economic impact that these agreements will have on communities across the nation.

I also applaud the President and Congress for renewing the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.  Why?  Because whenever there is change, there are some who are negatively impacted; some Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs because of foreign competition.  But all is not lost: TAA will help them retrain and retool for success in the 21st century economy.

The world is rapidly changing, and we must change with it to succeed in this economic environment. That’s why these three trade agreements are so important; they’ll create new opportunities across all regions and sectors.   Take the auto industry, historically a backbone of the middle class:

In 2010, the U.S. exported approximately $1.5 billion in vehicles and parts to the three prospective markets despite facing relatively high average tariffs.  Because the agreements have passed, the tariffs on these products will ultimately fall to zero, expanding opportunities for growth in exports for U.S. companies.

This is a big deal.  As President Obama said in his speech to Congress outlining the American Jobs Act:

“If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.”

With the passage of these three trade agreements, chances are we will indeed see more U.S. products sold around the world.  That’s a victory for us all.

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Making it Easier to Sell Products “Made in America”

October 3, 2011

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

It was a good day for American businesses and workers.

Earlier this afternoon, President Obama submitted three free-trade deals — with Korea, Colombia and Panama — to Congress for consideration.  If passed, these agreements would be a big boost to our economy, providing new opportunities for U.S. companies abroad, while strengthening our economy here at home.

As the President said: “These agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs across the country for workers making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America.”

President Obama has long said that exports are a key to the nation’s economic recovery.  Nearly two years ago, he launched the National Export Initiative with the goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.  And, last month, in a speech before Congress where he unveiled the American Jobs Act — a bipartisan proposal to put Americans back to work — he stressed the economic benefits of these free-trade agreements.

The President has correctly recognized that exporting provides U.S. businesses with new opportunities to sell their goods and services in markets overseas.  The pending FTAs before Congress would ensure that this trade — with three important markets — is both free and fair.

This is important.  Consider that, in 2010, the United States enjoyed a $9.9 billion non-oil trade surplus with our FTA partners, as compared to a $371 billion non-oil trade deficit with the rest of the world.  In addition, last year, 41 percent of U.S. goods exports went to our FTA partners, even though those countries only account for 9 percent of global Gross Domestic Product.

Clearly, fair trade is good for our economic health and future.  If passed, the pending FTAs are sure to enhance these benefits.  Now, there have been a lot of misconceptions about these FTAs.  To set the record straight, here are some basic facts:

Korea

The U.S. –Korea trade agreement will:

  • Support at least 70,000 American jobs, and boost annual exports of American goods by up to $11 billion through tariff reductions alone.
  • Create new opportunities for U.S. exporters in Korea’s $1.5 trillion economy, the 12th largest in the world in 2010, based on purchasing power parity exchange rates.

Colombia

The U.S. – Colombia trade agreement will:

  • Generate new possibilities in the 3rd largest economy in Central and South America.
  • Reduce barriers to U.S. exports, spurring new opportunities for our businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers, thereby supporting more and better jobs for Americans.

Panama

The U.S. – Panama trade agreement will:

  • Provide new possibilities with one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, expanding 6.2 percent in 2010, with similar annual growth forecast through 2015.
  • Enhance U.S. competitiveness by eliminating tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports and expanding trade between our two countries.

Bottom line: By ensuring that the American people have a level-playing field to compete on in these three important markets, the FTAs would spur billions in economic activity, support tens of thousands of American jobs, and sharpen the United States’ competitive edge moving into the future.

The President has worked hard to strengthen these agreements to, in his words, “get the best possible deal for American workers.”

Now, I join his call in urging Congress to pass the FTAs without delay.

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