Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee’

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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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Visit to Memphis

October 15, 2010

This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy

James Golson is a Commercial Officer in the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service‘s Strategic Partnership Office.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and U.S Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk were warmly welcomed by the Memphis business community during their visit here this past week.

The Secretary and Ambassador started their trip with a late night visit to FedEx’s global hub to see firsthand the millions of packages that make Memphis the world’s busiest cargo airport and an important center for U.S. exports.  

Early the next day, the group traveled to Memphis based Smith & Nephew, a high tech manufacturer of orthopedic equipment.  Smith & Nephew export half of what they produce in Memphis and employ hundreds of people in the Memphis area to support those exports.  This venue provided an excellent backdrop for the Secretary and Ambassador to address a town hall meeting of nearly 50 Memphis based exporting companies.  The meeting focused on the President’s National Export Initiative and how the Department of Commerce, USTR and business can work together to achieve the President’s goal of doubling exports in five years.  The business community was energized by the speech and many in the audience were able to ask questions about the NEI and how they could take advantage of the program.  The Secretary highlighted that the U.S. Commercial Service has partnered with Memphis based FedEx through the New Market Exporter Initiative to identify SMEs that currently export to one market, and that by working together we would assist these companies to find additional markets overseas. 

Following the town hall meeting, local Commerce Department staff, including myself, were approached by many of the attendees asking for assistance.  The event was definitely a success and my calendar is booked for the next few weeks meeting with companies that want to expand their exports.

The Secretary and Ambassador concluded their time in Memphis at a roundtable discussion with Memphis based exporters that currently export to Asia.  They discussed the Trans Pacific Partnership and what it means for Memphis.  Many of the executives spoke positively about their interaction with the U.S. Commercial Service.  For example, Chris Schnee of Christie Medical Holdings, noted that his company had not exported two years ago, now they are in 40 countries after conducting over 35 Gold Key matchmaking services with the Commercial Service.  He attributed their export success directly to the assistance provided by the local Memphis office of the Commercial Service.

The Secretary and Ambassador left Memphis later that day but as we engage with more companies in the coming weeks to help them expand into additional markets, the legacy of their trip will live on.

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