Seminar shows impact of Korus FTANEW YORK - The Metropolitan Club, a private social club in New York, heated up on Wednesday as more than 200 local investors gathered to take part in an investment seminar organized by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra).
It was the first of its kind after the Korea-United States free trade agreement went into effect last month. Initially, the Korean government had expected around 100 U.S. investors to take part, but the actual number of participants doubled.
Mike Sutter, vice president of Goulds Pumps, a manufacturer of industrial pump equipment, noted that ever since the Korus FTA went into effect, Korea has become one of the rising countries in Asia for investment.
The bilateral trade pact between the two countries has offered American companies opportunities to invest in its counterpart country with lower trade barriers while also heightening the level of international standards in terms of practices and customs in the legal and finance sectors that have widely been considered conservative.
On the day of the seminar, a total of six contracts worth $427 million were sealed by American companies to invest in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, a record outcome from holding an investment seminar in New York. The fields of investment have also diversified.
“In the past, when we held such an event, those who participated were mainly in the real estate and finance sectors, but the scope of investors has widened to service areas like legal, broadcasting, education, tourism and retail, which are all areas that have opened up in Korea with the passing of the Korus FTA,” said Um Sung-pil from Kotra.
Han Ki-won, commissioner of Invest Korea, a foreign investment promotion agency under Kotra, said that “in the past, foreign companies would think of foreign direct investment as building factories, but today, investors are seeking also long-term PEF investments.”
By Jung Kyung-min, Lee Eun-joo [email@example.com]