Virginia opens South Korean marketing office as exports keep growing

Gov. McAuliffe from press conference in South Korea

Gov. McAuliffe from press conference in South Korea

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – Virginia has soul, and now Seoul, South Korea, has a new Commonwealth marketing office, announced Governor Terry McAuliffe during a press conference at the Grand Hyatt Seoul as part of his 10-day marketing mission to Japan, Korea, Singapore and Australia.

The new Seoul office and marketing staff expansion in Korea will further strengthen the partnership between Korea and Virginia, the governor said.

Julie Kim, who worked for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership from 2000 -2006, is now the agency director and is now working out of the Seoul office. Prior to returning to VEDP, Kim was the sales and marketing director at World Green AM Corp.

The General Assembly has supported investment in efforts to grow the Commonwealth’s international footprint.

“South Korea’s economy has experienced tremendous growth over the past four decades, representing the fifth fastest-growing source of foreign direct investment in the U.S. in 2015,” said Governor McAuliffe speaking at the announcement. “Virginia has made great strides in its relationship with Korea in the past year, and I look forward to seeing more Korean dollars invested into the Commonwealth and more Virginia jobs created.”

From 2011 to 2015, South Korean companies invested more than $90 million to establish and expand businesses in Virginia, which Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore said makes “Korea a vitally important international market for the Commonwealth.”

“VEDP’s new office and Virginia representative will be strategically positioned to capitalize on the economic opportunities that South Korea represents, continuing the Governor’s call to build a new Virginia economy,” Haymore said.

With the establishment of this office, Korean companies will have the opportunity to work directly with Virginia as they establish their “Go Global” strategy. According to SelectUSA, 45,100 U.S. workers were employed by U.S. affiliates of Korean-owned firms in 2014.

South Korea is Virginia’s 11th largest export destination, with exports to Korea growing 13 percent between 2014 and 2015 to reach a value of $485 million.

In 2015, top exports from Virginia to Korea included electrical machinery, meat, organic chemicals and essential oils. The top six industry sectors by number of announced Korean foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the U.S. are auto components, industrial machinery, software & IT services, metals, communications and electronics.

The VEDP, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, VEDP focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade. VEDP has offices in Virginia, China, Germany, Japan, India, South Korea and the United Kingdom focused on promoting FDI into the Commonwealth.