Gov. Scott Walker announced Wednesday he plans to lead a trade mission to South Korea and Japan in September to draw investment to Wisconsin from foreign companies and strengthen trade ties.
The announcement came as South Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-young visited Madison this week. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. held a roundtable event Wednesday to give executives attending the trade mission an opportunity to introduce their companies and tell Ho-young about how they are doing business in South Korea.
“The historic $10 billion investment Foxconn is making in Wisconsin is a clear sign that businesses around the world are recognizing the many benefits of establishing operations in our state, including our strong business climate and outstanding workforce,” Walker said. “We’re going to build upon the momentum created by Wisconn Valley and continue to make a strong case for why companies in these two countries should consider expanding in Wisconsin.”
South Korean President Moon Ja-in met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. in June. During that trip, South Korean companies announced a planned $12 billion in investments in the U.S. over the next five years.
Walker also previously met with Ahn in June.
The Midwest Energy Research Consortium was among the Milwaukee organizations represented at the roundtable discussion in Madison Wednesday. The organization is hosting 10 South Korean entrepreneurs for an accelerator program in Milwaukee in October, with the hope they will locate businesses or form trade relationships here. Teresa Esser and Jacquin Davidson represented MWERC at the meeting.
Also in the room were Howard Snyder of the Northwest Side Community Development Corp., Arthur Harrington of Godfrey & Kahn in Milwaukee and Buckley Brinkman of the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity.
The trade mission also will include executives from eight Wisconsin companies. Brookfield-based Gross Automation confirmed it is one of the eight companies, but WEDC has yet to announce the other seven. The executives will meet on-on-one with potential business partners in targeted meetings in Tokyo and Seoul to discuss expansion and investment opportunities in Wisconsin.
“My first and foremost reason for being in Madison is to thank Gov. Walker for leading the delegation to Korea and to visit each member of the delegation and thank them for their participation and to address their questions,” Ahn said. “This trip to Madison isn’t just a visit, it is a personal pilgrimage for me – to learn more about the state and its political leaders, and to learn more about why Wisconsin’s economy is doing so well.”