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Enterprising Partners


RAEDC signs historic global partnership with Korean trade agency

Innovative companies from the Rockford area and South Korea will be matched together in partnerships allowing them to build on each other's strengths, thanks to a global partnership agreement signed this September by RAEDC and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

Companies looking for a development partner will be able to rely on resources provided by KOTRA and RAEDC to identify qualified partner companies in the other country and minimize their risk and costs by doing so. This is expected to increase both the quality and quantity of opportunities for Korean and Rockford firms as well as providing more bilateral direct investment. It builds on a relationship which was already budding: In 2012, exports from the United States to South Korea were down 3%, but exports from Illinois were up 17%. The agreement is expected to boost the aerospace industry in Rockford and Korea as Korean companies rely on Rockford's manufacturers for projects like the T-X next generation trainer and the KFX multirole fighter. In addition to aerospace, the Rockford Region also shares industry synergies with South Korea such as the autmotive and machine tool industries.

The signing ceremony for the agreement was attended by KOTRA Director General Kang Youngsoo, Republic of Korea Ambassador to the United States Ahn Ho-Young,  Korean Economic Institute of America President and CEO Don Manzullo and RAEDC President Don Thayer. Ambassador Ahn noted that in 35 years of diplomatic service he had found Americans to be “creative, enterprising and innovative” and that Koreans are “equally enterprising.” As “an example of the perfect interface” between our business cultures, he pointed to the Android operating system, which was designed in America by Google, but is most often sold on phones made by Samsung, a South Korean company. Manzullo praised South Korean enterprise, describing how in the 60 years since the Korean War they have risen “from abject poverty to become the twelfth largest economic power in the world.”

"KOTRA is a leading trade & investment agency, with a strong track record for creating value for companies across the globe,” RAEDC President Don Thayer said. “We are honored to call KOTRA our partner, and look forward to aligning our international development strategies around aerospace, and other key industries.”

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