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KITA Hosts Luncheon Meeting with US Ambassador to Seoul Harry B. Harris Jr.
Grassroots Outreach to Wisconsin & Minnesota
Harry B. Harris Jr., U.S. ambassador to South Korea

Luncheon Meeting with Harry Harris, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

On Nov.19, 2018, KITA Seoul hosted a luncheon meeting with Harry B. Harris Jr., U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Representatives and senior executives of 10 major Korean companies doing business in the U.S. including Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motors, LG Electronics, POSCO Daewoo, SK E&S, Hyosung, Dongwon F&B, Meta Biomed, TCC Steel and Shindong Enercom attended the event. From the U.S Embassy in Seoul, Ambassador Harris, Rob Rapson, Deputy Chief of Mission and Gregory Briscoe, Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs joined the meeting as well.

The luncheon was arranged to strengthen mutual networks as well as to discuss shared interests between the U.S. Embassy and Korean companies with significant investments in the United States. The Korean business representatives conveyed the difficulties associated with the current U.S. business investment climate to Ambassador Harris while also reaffirming the importance of future-oriented economic cooperation between the two countries.

KITA Washington "Trade Advisory Council"

On November 28th, the KITA Washington Center will hold its first official preliminary luncheon meeting of the KITA Washington Center "Trade Advisory Council". Participating Trade Advisory Council members will include approximately 20 people comprised of former U.S. government officials, think tank experts, legal professionals, executives of economic organizations and other professionals in related fields, etc.

The goal of this activity will be to bring together Washington-based trade experts and opinion leaders from various fields to engage in the exchange of information and opinions on global trade issues and U.S.-Korea trade ties in particular. Also, through this aim, the KITA Washington Center will also seek to strengthen its economic relationship and broaden its network in the U.S.

The long term plan for the Council will be to host an annual or biannual Korea-U.S. trade expert meeting (conference) once or twice a year, alternating between Seoul and Washington.

Grassroots Outreach to Wisconsin & Minnesota

Minnesota and Wisconsin are neighboring states in the Upper Midwest that share a number of characteristics. Both send eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives to Washington, reflecting their similar populations (5.795 million in Wisconsin; 5.577 million in Minnesota). Both states have economic output of similar sizes ($255 billion in gross domestic product from Minnesota; $232.2 billion GDP from Wisconsin). And – relevant to both states’ strong tourism industries — they even have similar numbers of lakes, although both states dispute which one has more, with Minnesota claiming 11,842 and Wisconsin counting 15,074.

From October 22nd to 26th, a delegation representing the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and the Korea International Trade Association visited both Minnesota and Wisconsin, in an effort to promote both trade and investment. The aim was to share ideas with regards to the stronger partnership between South Korea and the United States, exchange opinions on how to utilize the modernized KORUS FTA for both Korean and Wisconsin and Minnesota companies, and to seek to hear ideas and voices from local industries for further cooperation.

Mr. Hankoo Yeo, Minister Counselor/Head of Commercial Attache Section at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, not only promoted the contents of the modernized KORUS FTA but urged businesses in those states to take advantage of them. Mr. Tiger Minsok Chu, President and Chief Representative of KITA Washington Center, introduced the activities of the KITA Washington Center and its efforts to promote the robust relationship between two countries, especially by developing stronger business relationships with each state. They further emphasized that Korea will become a more important player in the U.S. economy while explaining success stories of investments in those states that were benefited from KORUS FTA.

While in Wisconsin, members of the delegation met with Representative Gordon Hintz, Minority Leader of the State Assembly; with the CEO Mark Hogan of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC); with the Secretary Sheila Harsdorf of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; and with CEO Bill Linton of the Promega Corporation, a biotechnology company. At Promega, both parties exchanged mutual interest in fostering business opportunities between Korean and Wisconsin Life Science industry.

The delegation also had a luncheon roundtable, inviting participants from various agriculture and business associations, as well as dinner with state government officials and faculty members of the University of Wisconsin. Participants conveyed the strong support KORUS FTA to delegation members, taking an example as the exports of Wisconsin agricultural products to Korea have been increased remarkably. Further, participants expressed that they want to bolster economic ties between the two regions.

Visiting Minnesota, members of the delegation met with Lieutenant Governor Michelle Fischbach and Commissioner David Frederickson of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Mr. Yeo was invited to give a presentation to a meeting of more than two dozen people hosted by Congressman Rick Nolan and the East Central Minnesota Economic Development Group.

At the Business roundtable luncheon meeting, organized by Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, companies expressed satisfaction with their business relationship with Korea, while some of them asked for easing the non-tariff barriers in Korea that they believe still work as obstacles. A dinner hosted by Minnesota Trade Office Executive Director Gabrielle Gerbaud included participation by several state government officials. The delegation’s stay in Minnesota also included a briefing by the Minneapolis Airport Commission about the non-stop flights between the Twin Cities and Incheon that will begin in April 2019; a visit to 3M HQ facility and the Cummins Corporation.

Meeting participants from each state not only explained the advantages of their own states' infrastructure and business environment but also conveyed their hope for the interest and further cooperation from Korean companies.

KITA's efforts to increase trade and investment in individual American states will continue in coming months with visits to other regions, with an aim toward expanding and developing business opportunities between KITA's 72,000 member companies in Korea and 50 U.S. states. In every instance, invitations of reciprocal trade mission visits to Korea are standard protocol.

※ KITA Washington Center greatly appreciates Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation(WEDC) and Minnesota Trade Office, for their efforts arranging the productive meetings.

Korean Investment in the U.S.-50 States Project

This project was created as an idea to bolster the economic cooperation between Korea and the U.S. by introducing each states’ business environment and highlighting success stories of Korea’s investment in those states. Stay tuned for rest of 48 states!


Wisconsin’s total exports in 2017 amounted to nearly $22.3 billion. At the same time, Wisconsin’s exports to Korea came to $717 million (divided into $500 for goods, $217 million for services), with Korea being Wisconsin’s ninth-largest export destination, just behind Australia and ahead of France. Main exports to Korea are: meat products, Navigational and measuring instruments, etc. Main imports from Korea are: plastics, electrical equipment and more. Wisconsin’s Korean American population is at 12,595, and fewer than 1,000 Koreans study there – those students spend almost $28.9 million annually. Korean tourists and other visitors spend $78.7 million in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is home to over 670 foreign companies that provide over 93,000 jobs across the state. Its key industries include aerospace manufacturing, biohealth, energy, food and beverage, forest products and manufacturing. There are a broad range of state and local incentives for doing business in Wisconsin. These include but are not limited to: economic development tax credits, Wisconsin manufacturing and agriculture tax credit, Wisconsin manufacturing investment credit program (MIC), Food processing plant and food warehouse investment tax credit, Major economic development (MED) program, Transportation economic assistance (TEA), Hiring incentives, Tax increment financing (TIF) and sales tax exemption. For more information and to get started on doing business with the State, please contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).



Minnesota’s exports in 2017 amounted nearly were $20.6 billion. For its part, Minnesota sent $1.21 billion in goods and services to Korea ($919 million in goods, $289 million in services), with Korea as the state’s fifth-largest export destination in 2018, just behind Japan and ahead of Germany. Main exports to Korea are: general purpose machinery, medical equipment and supplies, etc. Main imports from Korea are: semiconductors and components, communications equipment, motor vehicle parts and more. Minnesota is home to 24,751 Korean Americans and welcomes 1,300 Korean students, who spend $38.7 million a year on books, clothing, housing, and food. Korean tourists and other visitors spend $91.6 million annually in Minnesota.

Minnesota is home to nearly 720 foreign companies representing over 35 nations and employing over 100,000 jobs across the state. In the past two years alone, foreign-owned companies have invested $337 million in 31 projects and created 1,670 jobs in the process. Its key industries include: manufacturing, biosciences and clean/renewable technology. Economic incentives in doing business in Minnesota include: Research and Development Tax Credit, Minnesota Job Creation Fund (MJCF), Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF), special zoning, various training programs and tax exemptions through the Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program, data centers and Sales and Use Tax Exemptions. For more information and to get started on doing business with the State, please contact the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Office of Foreign Direct Investment.


KITA International Forum 2018: What Happens Next?

U.S. Trade Policy and U.S.-China Trade Conflict After Midterm Elections

On November 12th, KITA Seoul held an “Outlook for U.S. Trade Policy and U.S.-China Trade Conflict After 2018 Midterm Elections” colloquium at the World Trade Tower in Seoul, Korea. Various speakers shared their expertise on: 1) prospects of U.S. trade policy after U.S. 2018 midterm elections and; 2) viable strategies for Korea in respond to U.S.-China trade conflict. Speakers included Daniel J. Ikenson, Trade Policy Director at CATO Institute; Jaemin Lee, Professor at Seoul National University; Miaojie Yu, Deputy Dean at National School of Development, Peking University and more. The seminar was geared towards scholars, researchers, institutions and businesses representatives that are interested in the impact of the midterm election and U.S.-China trade disputes.

For details or inquiries Email KITA Washington at

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