Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Wednesday that his first overseas trip as governor would be to South Korea from June 22-28 to strengthen what he called “the vital partnership” with the state.
In a formal press conference with Korean Consul General Young-jun Kim, and Korean business and state officials looking on in the governor’s office at the state Capitol, Mr. Kemp said that he would leave “no stone unturned” in his quest to bring more Korean investment to Georgia.
Citing Korean companies that already have invested more than $2 billion in the state during the last 12 months alone including the $1.7 billion investment by SK Innovation Co. Ltd.‘s high tech battery plant, and a population of 113,000 Korea-Americans within its borders, he said he was “excited to travel to South Korea and continue the international efforts that have made Georgia a global competitor for investment and trade…”
With Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Mary Waters, the department’s deputy commissioner of international trade and Abby Turano, the state’s chief protocol officer, in attendance, the governor cited as a “top goal” of the trip the creation of more Georgia jobs through new South Korean investments. “We have the best story to tell,” he added.
The delegation that will include state officials and Korean businesspeople is to make courtesy calls on the headquarters of companies with operations in the state including SK Innovation Co. Ltd, Korea’s largest energy and chemical company; Kia Motors, which has an annual capacity of 340,000 vehicles at its West Point facility; Sangsin Brake that recently announced a $20 million investment in McDonough, and Hanwhat Q Cells that manufactures solar modules in Dalton.
It also is to meet with prospective investors, which the governor did not mention by name.
Mr. Kemp also said that he was grateful to the efforts of Mr. Kim for arranging a visit with Nak-yon Lee, South Korea’s prime minister. In addition, the delegation is scheduled to meet with Admiral Harry Harris, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea and former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.