The Southeast should benefit from an impending wave of Korean investment of small- to medium-sized companies into the U.S. in the next six to 18 months, June Towery, an attorney in the Atlanta office of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice, said at a conference held here May 22.

          Ms. Towery, who is originally from South Korea, cited new incentives of the Korean government for export and increased Korean labor costs for prompting Korean companies to invest overseas.

          In addition, she cited the rise in transportation costs globally and threatening trade legislation in both Europe and the U.S. as additional reasons for Korean companies to invest within both markets.

          “The Southeast is particularly popular with small- to medium-sized companies that will be looking to establish a presence in the U.S.,” she said, adding that they will be attracted by the region’s growing population, lower costs and its diversified economy.

          The conference presented by the Atlanta-based Southern Center for International Studies and the New York-based Asia Society focused primarily on the recovery of South Korea’s economy in recent years and the opportunities for U.S. companies to invest there.

          According to several speakers, cultural business norms have changed since South Korea experienced a severe recession in 1997.

They noted a rise in the number of newly founded small companies. They also indicated that business school graduates were less inclined to work for the big family-owned conglomerates known as chaebols, which have received much of the blame for triggering the country’s economic crisis.

To reach Ms. Towery, call (404) 872-7000 or fax (404) 870-8220.