State delegation to visit companies, business and government officials in South Korea, China
Gov. Nathan Deal will embark this week on his first mission to Asia since becoming governor. The mission, which includes Mrs. Deal and Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Commissioner Chris Cummiskey as well as other representatives from the governor's office and GDEcD, will visit South Korea and China Oct. 16- 22 to seek opportunities for trade and investment.
"South Korea and China are two of the world's most dynamic economies and hold a myriad of opportunities for Georgia," said Deal. "Our commerce with these countries has remained strong during the years of global recession, and this mission will help cement our current relationships and forge new ones."
The governor's delegation will call on business prospects and companies with existing operations in Georgia, as well as key government officials. In South Korea, Deal will meet with Kia Chairman Mong-koo Chung and senior officials of Kia Motors at the company's global headquarters. He will also address the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry at a business breakfast.
Following several other company visits in Korea, Deal and most of the delegation will fly to Beijing, where the governor will attend the U.S.-China Governors Forum, a collaboration between the National Governors Association and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries to discuss mutual interests in economic development and job creation. Six U.S. governors and nine Chinese provincial governors/party secretaries will be in attendance, as well as senior representatives from each province's business community and the U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke.
The delegation will then visit the world headquarters of Sany Heavy Industries, in Changsha, and Hisense Group, in Qingdao. Both companies have operations in Georgia. Deal and Cummiskey will also sign economic development agreements with Shandong Province and the city of Shanghai.
Mrs. Deal will visit a number of elementary schools in China and South Korea, in alignment with her focus as first lady on education.
"There's no better advocate for our state than a company that has experienced success there," said Cummiskey. "Missions like this reinforce our appreciation for their business and our ongoing commitment to their success. These companies can open doors of opportunity we may not have known even existed before our visit."
Korea is Georgia's 11th-largest export market and sixth-largest import market. In 2010, Georgia exports to Korea were almost $632 million, a 39 percent increase. Imports were up 141 percent. Fifty-five Korean facilities operate in Georgia, employing around 5,800 workers, and total Korean investment in Georgia since 1998 totals more than $2 billion. The state of Georgia has maintained a trade and investment office in Korea since 1985.
China is Georgia's second-largest export market. The state's exports increased by 35 percent, with a total near $2.4 billion in 2010. Imports topped $14 billion in 2010, a 32 percent increase. Around two dozen Chinese facilities operate in the state. Georgia opened an office in Beijing in 2008.
*A brief itinerary for the Asia Mission is attached.