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Missouri and South Korea Build a Ladder for Small Companies


On September 29th, Governor Greitens of Missouri and Choi Su-Gyu, Vice Minister of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME) and Start-ups of South Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which calls for the exchange of information and experience on policies related to SMEs and foreign direct investment. The MoU also helps smaller businesses and startups better exchange technology and foster business opportunities.

The MoU contains support for small business participation in regular exchanges, information about international conventions and economic policy, and plans for trade delegations. Additionally, both countries agree to share experience on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and cooperate in holding seminars and conferences to foster technological exchange between businesses.

The agreement was achieved while Governor Greitens was on a trade mission to South Korea and China. The governor was able to find potential benefits in both countries through numerous meetings with government officials, business executives, potential investors, and cultural and educational partners in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Seoul. South Korea currently is the 7th largest destination for exports from Missouri, with a $326 million trade surplus in goods in 2016. Aerospace products, non-electrical machinery, chemical products, and food products are the top exports to South Korea. The state of Missouri has a trade and investment office located in Seoul.

While governor Eric and the first-lady Sheena Greitens were staying in South Korea, they visited the Korean War Memorial to lay a wreath in honor of the 7000 Missourians who fought and the over 900 Missouri citizens who gave their lives in the Korean War. Additionally, Governor Eric met with Missourians currently serving with the US military in Korea. The delegation, joined by University of Missouri System President Mun Choi also met with alumni of Missouri’s institutions of higher education. As a result of the free-tuition program for distinguished Korean students established by President Truman after the Korean War, the University of Missouri’s largest alumni community outside of the state is located in South Korea.

Heejae Park is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington D.C. and an Asan Washington Young Fellow with the Asan Academy in Seoul. He is also a student of Kyunghee University in South Korea.