December 08, 1999

Lila White
(804) 692-3110

Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Gilmore Announces New Economic Development Office in Korea

Richmond - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) will open a new economic development office in Seoul, Korea in January 2000. The office's functions will be to recruit Korean companies to the Commonwealth and establish trade relationships between Virginia and Korean companies. This office joins other global VEDP offices located in Tokyo, Japan; Frankfurt, Germany; Hong Kong; Mexico City, Mexico; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"Opening an office in Seoul is a direct outgrowth of The Virginia Strategy, my administration's strategic plan for economic development," Governor Gilmore said. "Virginia companies will benefit from this expanded trade development effort, and the Commonwealth is well-positioned to recruit new Korean investment in the next millennium."

The new VEDP office will share space with the Virginia Port Authority in Seoul. Mr. Sang-Min Woo has been hired by VEDP to manage the office. Mr. Woo has served as marketing director of the Virginia Port Authority in Korea since 1989. In addition to his experience with the ports, he has worked for LG Electronics, UNICEF and LEGO. He earned a master's degree in business administration and a doctorate degree in multinational corporate location from Korea's Myongji University Graduate School.

Korea is Virginia's fifth largest export destination. The Commonwealth exported $605 million in products to Korea in 1998, a 20 percent decrease from 1997 due to the recent financial crisis in Asia. For the first nine months of 1999, Virginia's exports to Korea are up 32.5% over the same period in 1998. Total Korean investment in Virginia is $16. 4 million with three Korean companies employing 180 people.

"Korea's economy is leading East Asia's recovery," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal. "By opening an office in Seoul, Virginia is demonstrating its commitment to this respected nation as a major trading partner. The Commonwealth will benefit from building its trade and investment relationships with Korea."

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Partnership is a state authority, which is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business development and international trade.


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