A South Korean official will spend a two-year term working at the offices of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce to identify business opportunities between small- and medium-sized companies in Korea and Georgia.

The new position comes out of an agreement signed by the Gwinnett Chamber, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Small and Medium Business Corp. of Korea.

Nick Masino, vice president of economic development for the chamber, signed a pact finalizing the agreement in late August during his third trip to South Korea in the last five months. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the Small and Medium Business Corp. will appoint a Korean “liaison officer” who will encourage business exchanges and help small- and medium-sized Korean companies set up in Georgia.  As of yet, no one has been named for the position. Read: Korea Tough for Small, Foreign Businesses

“This is a rare opportunity for economic development organizations to host an agent of business development from another country,” Mr. Masino said in a news release. “We count it a true privilege and wonderful opportunity to further expand the solid Korean business foundations already present in Gwinnett and the state of Georgia.”

Along with other Georgia business leaders and university representatives, Mr. Masino participated in an “Atlanta Day” program Aug. 28-29 at the Incheon Global Fair and Festival, an 80-day event designed to display new urban developments in the port city of Incheon.

At that event, Mr. Masino led an informal panel discussion where the Georgia delegates outlined the opportunities for small- and medium-sized Korean companies investing in Georgia.

Mr. Masino’s trip is the latest in a continuing effort by Gwinnett County to build business ties in Korea. In June, Mr. Masino and other county leaders traveled to Gangnam, a prosperous district of Seoul, to officially enter into a sister community partnership.

“When we signed our sister community agreement, it was only a matter of time before we would see the next logical step to building bridges for business development between Korea … and Gwinnett County,” said Jay Eun, president of the Korean-American Assocation of Greater Atlanta and a vice chair for global business on the Gwinnett Chamber’s board of directors.

Mr. Eun has told GlobalAtlanta that Gwinnett is home to about half the state’s 83,000 Koreans.

Most are engaged in small businesses like laundry services and convenience stores, he has said. Hundreds of Korean-owned liquor stores, beauty supply shops and restaurants dot Gwinnett County, which has a population of about 800,000.

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...