Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be leading a trade mission to South Korea, next week, from Sept. 12-16. The purpose of this trip is to showcase California goods and services, promote tourism and the expansion of trade between California and South Korea. The trip is being organized by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and will be will be organizing a number of business opportunities throughout the trade mission to allow California companies participating in the mission to connect with key business and government decision makers.
South Korea is California’s 5th largest trading partner, a press release by the Chamber notes. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world today. Its economy relies heavily on exports to prosper. The following are some of the sectors that the Korean market demands more products from: automotive, broadcasting, communication and computer technologies, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals/nutritional supplements, and environmental technology, education and training services.
The California Travel and Tourism Commission will open an office in Seoul on to generate marketing and promotional campaigns to bring South Korea travelers to California. The commission hired AVIAREPS Marketing Garden to represent the California tourism industry in South Korea. South Korea is California’s fourth-largest overseas market, with 331,000 visitors, according to Caroline Beteta, CTTC chief executive officer. “We expect that number to increase dramatically with the easing of visa restrictions and expected expansion in airlift.” South Korean travel in California generated $405 million in 2007, with an average leisure travel expenditure of $1,368 per visit. California now has overseas travel offices in the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Germany and Mexico.
The San Diego Business Journal has reported that Allied Defense Group Inc., a Vienna, Va.-based defense contractor, announced July 25 that it has sold subsidiary SeaSpace Corp. of Poway for $1.7 million. Acetopia Holdings of Seoul, South Korea, purchased the company. Allied said the sale reflects an ongoing business plan to â€œeliminate losing business operationsâ€ to deliver value to shareholders. SeaSpace provides satellite ground operations and processing software and was established in 1982.
That’s what the San Francisco Chronicle thinks:
For California, this deal is close to a no-brainer. Rice growers won’t be happy with Korean price protections, but Hollywood studios, orange growers and plasma-TV shoppers will be pleased with lower trade barriers.
There are other reasons to support the pact. It strengthens relations between Washington and Seoul, which have frayed. It puts pressure on next-door Japan, the toughest holdout on free trade, to relent. Also, the deal links the United States more closely with Asia’s roaring economic engine and checks China’s rising role.
The politics remain tricky. President Bush wants an economic win to blunt criticism over rising trade deficits. Democrats, badly divided on the issue, want free trade, but with terms guaranteeing environmental and labor standards. The pressure is on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to unite her tribe, which won its majority partly on free-trade fears.
Worldwide, the same tensions have stalled multination trade pacts. That’s why it makes sense to focus on the advantages of this deal with Korea, a familiar trading partner. It’s a free trade deal too good to pass up.
“Korean American community leaders who met with a top official at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles on Friday said they were disgusted by anti-Semitic depictions in a comic book by a popular South Korean author and vowed to mobilize community resources to launch a protest against the publisher. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, met with the group and said he would visit Seoul on March 15 to raise concerns about the comic book. He said its publisher has an obligation to pull the book from the market and replace it with one that depicts Jews accurately. The controversial book, written by Lee Won-bok, a South Korean university professor, is one in his series designed to teach youngsters about other countries in a comic book format. The series, “Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries” in English translation, has sold more than 10 million copies, Cooper said. The images ‘echo classic Nazi canards like those found in [Nazi newspaper] Der Sturmer and ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ by recycling various Jewish conspiracies, like Jewish control of the media and money, Jews profiting from war, and even the reason for the 9/11 attacks,’ Cooper said.”
“The University of California Board of Regents named Steve (Sung Mo) Kang as the new U.C. Merced chancellor, making him the first Korean chancellor of a major American university, reports the Korean language Korea Times.”
A growing number of Koreans are scooping up real estate in the United States and elsewhere after the overseas investment cap in their country was lifted. Koreans are expected to invest nearly $2 billion in U.S. residential property in 2007, up from $1.27 billion in 2005 when such investments were mostly limited to large Korean corporations, said Brian Shaffer of the International Real Estate Trade Organization. Worldwide, Koreans could spend at least $4 billion on overseas homes in 2007 as a result of the changes made in May that allow an individual to make as much as $1 million in foreign investments, analysts said. Many of the purchases are being prompted by the strength of South Korean currency – the won, pronounced like “one” in English – against other currencies, analysts said.
South Korea Investigates Qualcomm
South Korea’s antitrust regulator said Thursday it has launched a full-scale investigation into alleged unfair market practices by wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc. The Fair Trade Commission early last month formed a task force to push forward a probe into allegations that the company used its dominant position in wireless technology to seek excessive royalties, said Shin Yeong-ho, an FTC official.