The Korean consul general in Atlanta, Jung-pyo Cho, said that recent events will not hinder future trade between Georgia and Korea and expects normal traffic patterns between Seoul and Atlanta to resume by the second quarter of next year.
“U.S.-Korea economic relations will not suffer in the long run,” he said during a presentation at the World Trade Center Atlanta last week. “The Korean market is fully-open to continued U.S. investment.”
He told GlobalFax during an interview prior to his presentation that the suspension of Korean Air Lines passenger flights into and out of Hartsfield International Airport will not directly affect long term relations between Georgia and Korea and that cargo flights, in fact, are operating normally.
The flights are to be suspended between Atlanta and Seoul Oct. 6-Dec. 13, he said, in light of financial setbacks exacerbated by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Although an economic slowdown between the two countries in the current circumstances is unavoidable, he pointed to several positive developments for the long-term, including those affecting Georgia.
Korean companies will continue to invest in Georgia, he said, specifically citing the ongoing investment by SKC Corp. into its videotape manufacturing facility in Covington.
Georgia companies should also explore opportunities in Korea such as the construction of an inter-Korea railroad, gas pipelines and a waterway passage connecting North and South Korea, he added.
These projects, which are related to the government’s “Sunshine Policy,” or plan to re-open a dialogue with North Korea, will be reviewed during an inter-governmental meeting scheduled for Oct. 23.
Mr. Cho added that it may be a good time for Atlanta companies to invest in Korea because the Asian country’s stock prices are down, and the Korean government has made reforms to encourage foreign direct investment.
Since 1997, South Korea has implemented various economic reforms, such as the reduction of collusion, decreased governmental control of the financial sector and inflation controls, which make for a more stable investment climate, according to Mr. Cho.
Other reasons Mr. Cho gave for investing in Korea included Korea’s consumer base of 47 million, its use as a “gateway to Asia,” its advanced technology, a highly-trained and motivated workforce, a well-developed infrastructure and its progress in repaying International Monetary Fund loans.
For more information about these projects, call the Korean Consulate General at (404) 522-1611.