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[Herald Interview] Georgia promises stability for companies at time of uncertainty

Gov. Brian Kemp underlines partnerships with Korean companies during Seoul visit

June 18, 2024 - 14:28 By Kan Hyeong-woo
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks to reporters on the sidelines of Georgia Night in Korea, a networking event held at Conrad Seoul on Monday evening. (Hyundai Motor Group)

The US state of Georgia can provide stability for businesses when companies face uncertainties with the upcoming US presidential election, Gov. Brian Kemp said Monday in Seoul.

“In a time of uncertainty, Georgia has the one certain thing that you will get a constant good business environment,” said Kemp in an interview with a group of reporters on the sidelines of the Georgia Night in Korea, a networking event held at Conrad Seoul on Monday evening.

“No ups and downs. That's really what companies are looking for. They're looking for stability. They're looking for a place that's you know they know what they're getting … and I think in a crazy election year, crazy world politics, Georgia is a steady, constant and good business environment.”

The governor led a delegation of Georgia’s state officials to South Korea late last week on a mission that has focused on reinforcing strategic economic development partnerships.

“Number one, we are here to say thank you to all the people that have made investments,” he said.

“The second thing is we are just talking about updates and how things are going on existing projects that we have with many of the companies that have chosen to do business in Georgia (and) make expansion plans in Georgia.”

Kemp and the state delegates met with a number of Korean firms including the country’s major conglomerates such as Hyundai Motor Group, SK, LG, Hanwha and CJ. The governor noted that the state representatives also sat down with “other people that are looking at future investments” in Georgia without mentioning any names.

According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Korean companies announced more than $10 billion in investments and the creation of 12,605 jobs across the state in fiscal year 2023 alone. Kemp mentioned that Korean firms have committed more jobs to Georgia than any other foreign direct investment partner over the last three years.

Hyundai Motor Group, in particular, has announced a $12.6 billion investment for the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America, an electric vehicle-dedicated manufacturing site that is slated to begin production in the fourth quarter of this year, and a joint battery manufacturing plant with LG Energy Solution in the state of Georgia.

Regarding Hyundai’s plan to add hybrid vehicles to the Georgia plant’s capacity, Kemp said the state will support whatever direction the Korean automaker moves toward.

“It's just all part of meeting the market demands,” he said. “What we try to do is support the company's mission. So if that mission is electric vehicles, we support them in doing that. If it's ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, like Kia is doing, we support them in that. If they want to build a hybrid, we're going to support them in that.”

The governor touted Hyundai Motor’s hydrogen drive as he and his team had a chance to check out the automaker’s hydrogen-powered truck Xcient during the trip.

“That's one reason that we brought some of our policymakers, our legislators, senators and representatives with us to be included to learn more about hydrogen, the next generation of clean energy and clean modes of transportation,” he said.

“It was incredible for us to see what Hyundai is doing on hydrogen, so it was a great learning experience today.”

Kemp’s trip to Korea marked the second time he visited the country since the governor came to Korea as the first overseas travel after becoming the state leader in 2019.