Road to South Korea: Exploring Trade Opportunities Seminar

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On Thursday, March 31, 2011 the Oakland Export Assistance Center co-organized the “Road to South Korea: Exploring Trade Opportunities” with the Port of Oakland and FedEx. The event attracted over 70 participants, along with a guest visit from the Mayor of Oakland Jean Quan.

The United States and the Republic of Korea signed the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) on June 30, 2007. The Obama Administration’s U.S. Trade Representative is currently seeking the House of Representatives to approve the KORUS FTA. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that the reduction of Korean tariffs and tariff-rate quotas on goods alone would add $10 billion to $12 billion to annual U.S. Gross Domestic Product and around $10 billion to annual merchandise exports to Korea. If passed, the KORUS FTA would strengthening our economic partnership and help solidify the two countries' long-standing geostrategic alliance.

South Korea is one of the top five export destination for goods leaving the Port of Oakland. The U.S. Commercial Service’s Oakland Export Assistance Center and the Port of Oakland are working in partnership to support President Barak Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI). In support of the NEI, the Port of Oakland has announced an export promotion program.

Thursday’s event was, but one collaborative event between the Port and the Oakland Export Assistance Center to help achieve the goal of doubling exports by 2015. On Thursday March 5th Oakland Export Assistance Center Director Rod Hirsch presented a Certificate of Appreciation to China Merchant Holdings International for signing an MOU with the Port to help improve supply chain logistics of California exports.

One of the U.S. Commercial Service’s corporate strategic partners, Fedex, was also a sponsor of Thursday’s event. FedEx recently announced increased air freight service to South Korea.

The event was crafted around the five tenants of the NEI:

1. Improve trade advocacy and trade promotion efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters.

2. Increase access to export financing.

3. Reduce trade barriers in order to open as many new markets as possible.

4. Robustly enforce trade rules.

5. Promote policies that lead to strong sustainable and balanced economic growth.

The speakers of the event were:

Mr. Rod Hirsch, Director, Oakland Export Assistance Center, spoke on the NEI and U.S. Commercial Service export promotion services.

Mr. Y.W. Kim 2, Managing Director, Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA)

Mr. Jim Sullivan, Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Commercial Service – South Korea discussed market opportunities for U.S. exporters in South Korea.

Mr. Joshua Pierce, Market Access & Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce covered trade policy matters and statistics between the U.S. and South Korea.

Mr. Larry Sullivan, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), US. Department of Commerce covered trade rules.

Mr. Jerry Avila, Small Business Administration presented export financing programs offered through his agency.

Mr. Paul Watts, U.S. Export – Import Bank covered discussed his federal agency’s export financing programs.

Mr. Jahan Bryne, Maritime Division, Port of Oakland, covered sea cargo logistics.

Mr. John Lee, U.S. Intermodal Maritime – an Oakland-based Korean American freight forwarder

Mr. Todd Acker, Regional Sales Manager, FedEx discussed air freight logistics.

To access the PowerPoints presented at the seminar, please click on the links above.


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