In late October, I was pleased to join SC Commerce Secretary, Harry Lightsey, and representatives from SC Commerce, the Midlands and Charleston, for a week-long trade mission to South Korea. The visit primarily targeted the electric vehicle industry, with some additional meetings with healthcare and technology companies. On the whole, the meeting was highly informative and successful.

Recent political changes in South Korea, coupled with the location of Korean OEM’s in the Southeast, like Kia and Hyundai, have accelerated the Korean appetite to invest in the United States. South Korea is a global leader in electric vehicle and upstream battery-related technologies and the week’s time in South Korea was enlightening in terms of seeing the lifecycle of the electric battery industry, and at which points business and industry were generating value in the supply chain.

We visited a number of vehicle and battery component manufacturers who are at varying degrees of making FDI investment decisions in the United States. We also saw how recent start-up enterprises in the charging station and battery recycling space in particular had generated significant investor interest. Finally, we joined Sec. Lightsey at the Daegu Future Automotive Expo to meet with an international array of electric vehicle companies and discuss South Carolina as an investment opportunity.

I look forward to returning as I think it is likely that Korean interest in investing in the US will remain strong as the electric vehicle and battery space is growing rapidly in the country.