Last week, the Lt. Governor concluded his East Asia trade mission that brought leaders from Washington state in business, higher education, and government to China and South Korea. The Lt. Governor led this mission at the request of Governor Inslee in order to build on the Governor’s 2015 trip to Asia, and to connect Washington’s economic drivers with new opportunities for international investment and collaboration.
To read about the Lt. Governor’s trip in China to promote Washington businesses and clean energy investments, click here.
The delegation to South Korea included Senators David Frockt and Marko Liias, Representative Cindy Ryu, President of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce Joana Chong, CEO of the Washington Technology Industry Association Michael Schutzler, and 10 economic development and business leaders from all over the state representing Washington’s strengths in technology, aerospace, wine, and construction.
The delegation began their trip in Jeonju, the capital city of Jeollabuk-do Province – Washington’s 21-year sister state. There, the Lt. Governor led meetings with Governor Song, Vice Governor Jin-Hong, and Assembly Chairman Hwang to discuss opportunities for strengthening international trade and cultural exchange. Delegation members also had an opportunity to demonstrate Washington’s economic advantages at the Jeollabuk-do Business Forum, highlighting Washington’s leadership in technology, cloud computing, and promoting an innovative startup culture.
In Jeollabuk-do, the delegation also participated in cultural activities to gain a deeper appreciation for the history of their sister state. The delegation visited Hanok Village, a Korean village featuring Korea’s traditional historical architecture and music, and attended the internationally recognized Sori music festival.
In Seoul, the Lt. Governor focused on expanding opportunities for foreign direct investment, and reinforcing international diplomatic ties. Major business-to-business meetings included those with national Korean economic development organizations, including the Federation of Korean Industries, the American Chamber of Commerce of Korea, and the Korean International Trade Association.
In honor of the delegation’s visit, the U.S. Embassy in Korea hosted a reception at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence, Habib House, where the Washington Technology Industry Association and the Silicon Valley-based Korean Innovation Center signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a long-term agreement to foster international innovation in tech.
As a follow-on to the MOU signing, the delegation met with Director General Choi of the Ministry of Science and Information and Communications Technology to discuss potential partnerships between governments in support of economic growth and collaboration in higher education. The delegation further encouraged international exchange at Korea’s prestigious Yonsei University, where the Lt. Governor and members of the delegation led a technology forum presentation to Yonsei University engineering students.
In the spirit of strengthening diplomatic relations, the delegation concluded their trip in Pyeongchang – sister-city to the City of Auburn, and future site of the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. As the delegation included three Auburn-based businesses, as well as Auburn’s economic development manager, the visit to Pyeongchang was an especially valuable opportunity to explore possibilities for international trade and government partnerships.