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Country Commercial Guide: Korea (Country Commercial Guides)

Country Commercial Guide: Korea (Country Commercial Guides)

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Korea is one of the United States’ largest trading partners. Currently, it is our sixth largest export market, bigger than those of Australia, Brazil, China, France, or Italy. It is our second fastest growing market for high-tech exports, and it is our fourth largest market for food products. U.S. exports to Korea are increasing and will continue showing double-digit growth in the months ahead. However, it would be a mistake for corporate America to become complacent about this market. This huge export opportunity has not gone unnoticed by our EU and Asia-Pacific competitors. Their direct investments in Korea are steadily expanding and the EU has displaced the U.S. as Korea’s largest investor. We predict that the months ahead will see extreme competition as both foreign and domestic firms vie for positions of leadership in this lucrative and growing market.

These opportunities notwithstanding, Korea also has been described as one of the toughest markets in the world for doing business, a place where foreign firms must do their homework and take nothing for granted. A thorough read of this 2001 Country Commercial Guide (CCG) for Korea will go a long way toward helping U.S. companies realize success in this exciting and dynamic market.

Moreover, it is anticipated that leading-edge IT companies will soon overtake Korea’s traditional manufacturers as the leaders driving Korea’s future economic growth. Korean electronic commerce is expected to double annually for the next five years. With the expansion of demand, imports from the U.S. for semiconductor equipment are estimated to grow at an average annual rate of 25% through 2001. Korea’s environmental market will exceed $8.8 billion this year and is expected to grow by 15% annually over the next five years, and will offer countless business opportunities for U.S. exporters.

Over the next 20 years, the Korean government will be spending over $300 billion on infrastructure projects, especially in regions outside of Seoul, (airports, roads, ports, railways, mega-resorts) and is seeking U.S. architectural and engineering expertise. In addition, Korea has allocated almost $60 billion to build nation-wide, over 100 new power generation facilities, while the Korean state-owned energy sector (power generation, oil and gas) is being privatized and is providing great opportunities for U.S. energy companies.