The Korea Society hosted a packed event in Atlanta in July. Photo: The Korea Society

The Korea Society is honoring the Georgia Department of Economic Development with its signature award for the organization’s “contributions to U.S.-Korea economic ties.”

GDEcD is being presented the Van Fleet Award along with the Korea International Trade Association, a private, nonprofit association that promotes global expansion by Korean companies. 

Gov. Brian Kemp will travel to New York to accept the award on behalf of the state’s marketing arm at the society’s annual dinner in September. 

Georgia has been a magnet for Korean projects in the automotive sector since Kia began operating the state’s first assembly planting 2009; that role is being reprised as Hyundai Motor Group puts a $5.54 billion  plant near Savannah. 

Already, the parade of related suppliers has begun, with $1.89 billion in supplier investment announced as of March 6. 

“That nearly doubles the additional $1 billion investment by suppliers that was originally anticipated,” GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson said in a recent LinkedIn posting recounting achievements toward the governor’s goal of “becoming the electric mobility capital of America.” 

Mr. Kemp made his first overseas economic development trip to Korea in 2019, but the state has had an office promoting trade and investment in Seoul since 1985. 

Christopher Koo, chairman of KITA, who is being lauded for helping KITA’s more than 70,000 member companies navigate the complexities of COVID-19 and the post-pandemic reshuffling of global supply chains, will accept the award on that organization’s behalf. 

The Korea Society, meanwhile, picked Atlanta for one of its first post-pandemic roadshows, highlighting Georgia’s heightened importance in the bilateral relationship. 

“We are entering a new phase of the multifaceted, dynamic relationship between the United States and the Republic of Korea. The Georgia Department of Economic Development and KITA have been an integral force in the flourishing of U.S.-Korea economic ties,” said Korea Society President and CEO Thomas Byrne, who traveled to Georgia for that event last July. “Both awardees are serving to enhance trade and investment between the two countries, creating high-paying jobs in American communities and securing supply chains in critical technologies.” 

Another Georgian — former President Jimmy Carter — is among the award’s prestigious past recipients.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...