South Korea’s environmental problems provide an opportunity for Atlanta environmental firms, said John Peters, minister-counselor for commercial affairs at the U.S. embassy in Seoul.

“Only about 5% of the population is confident enough to drink the tap water,” said Mr. Peters, speaking to attendees of the Korean Caravan conference, held here April 10. The conference traveled to five U.S. cities and featured experts in Korea’s economy as well as the Korean ambassador to the U.S. and the U.S. ambassador to Korea.

In order to solve water problems, air pollution and waste management issues, said Mr. Peters, South Korea needs intellectual capital. And to take advantage of its economic potential, the country also needs more know-how in its high-tech and tourism sectors.

Now the second fastest growing market for high-tech production, the country wants to lead the world in manufacturing seminconductors and needs more high-tech professionals.

In additional, South Korea has recently replaced Hawaii as the top destination for Japanese tourists and a slew of areas have been named as new resort development sites. This increases the need for hospitality training and resort development experts with such skills as golf course management, said Mr. Peters.

South Korea is now the Asian country recovering most rapidly from the Asian crisis of 1998, he said. More foreign direct investment has come to the country in the last two years than in the previous 36. However, though South Korea is fertile ground for U.S. investment, is a large export market and shares a historically friendly relationship with our country, it is the European Union that has been aggressive in stepping up its Korean ventures, he said, not the U.S.

For more information, contact co-sponsors of the event, the Korea-Southeast U.S. Chamber of Commerce at (770) 455-3463 or the Korean Trade Association of Atlanta at (770) 454-7668.