A nonprofit organization that promotes close ties between the United States and Korea is honoring Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Department of Economic Development for the state's strong partnership with the Asian nation.
Kemp accepted the annual James A. Fleet Award, named for the general who commanded the U.S. Army at the height of the Korean War in 1951, Wednesday night at The Korea Society's 2023 dinner in New York City. Fleet also was the nonprofit's first president.
During a keynote address, Kemp stressed the strong and enduring partnership between Georgia and Korea.
"My first economic development mission as governor was to Korea," Kemp said. "For Georgia to be the first state to receive this great honor alongside the former U.S. presidents, diplomats, and business icons who have been presented with this award in previous years is a true privilege."
At least 144 Korean companies have operations in Georgia. Korean investment in economic development projects in the Peach State has exceeded $23.6 billion during the last decade, with total trade between Korea and Georgia reaching $13 billion last year.
Highlights of the Georgia-Korea partnership include the Kia automotive manufacturing plant, which opened in West Point in 2009; the huge electric vehicles "metaplant" Hyundai Motor Group is building west of Savannah; and the battery manufacturing facility SK Battery is building near Cartersville. Other Korean companies operating in Georgia include Kumho Tire and Hanwha Qcells.
"Georgia's long-term commitment to diplomatic, cultural, and business engagement in Korea has supported transformative growth over decades, providing economic benefits for both countries," Georgia Commissioner of Economic Development Pat Wilson said. "The priority we've placed on mutual partnerships, connectivity, responsiveness, and education has positioned us to maximize our leadership position to pave the way to a brighter future for generations to come."