Gov. Brian Kemp will be taking his first international trade mission to South Korea at the end of the month.
The trip will include visits to companies that currently have a presence in Georgia, in addition to courting potential new investors.
At a press conference, Kemp said that there are about 113 South Korean facilities across the state that employ more than 9,000 Georgians.
“Our state has received over $2 billion of investment from Korean companies in just the last 12 months,” he said.
In March, the governor was joined by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a groundbreaking ceremony in Commerce for SK Battery America’s new plant. The Korean manufacturer will make electric vehicle batteries in a 2.4 million-square-foot, $1.67 billion building northeast of Atlanta.
It is one of the largest economic development deals in the state’s history.
Sangsin Technology America, a South Korean brake manufacturer, announced a new $20 million facility in McDonough earlier this year.
“When deciding where to establish a factory to support the growing U.S. commercial vehicle market, Georgia was the clear-cut winner," Sangsin Chairman Hyoil Kim said in a press release. "Sangsin Technology America is proud to be a part of the state of Georgia."
Perhaps the most visible sign of the state’s ties to South Korea lies southwest of Atlanta along I-85 on the way to Alabama. Kia Motors has a $1.1 billion factory in West Point, the only in the U.S. and the only automaker in Georgia.
Also in March, Kemp announced in a press release Georgia’s international trade set records in 2018, with $40.5 billion in exports and nearly $140 billion in total trade.
According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the top five countries Georgia did business with in 2018 include China, Germany, Mexico, Canada and Japan. South Korea was sixth.
Kemp will be the latest Georgia governor to make the trek: both Govs. Nathan Deal and Sonny Perdue made several trips during their tenures.