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A Vital Agency Aiding Korea's Economic Development

Korea’s remarkable economic growth over the past several decades has been accompanied by an equally stunning expansion of Korean exports to global markets, which has been the major growth engine driving the nation’s
prosperity. At the vanguard of Korea’s export economy is the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Corporation
(KOTRA), charged with promoting the country’s trade, attracting foreign investment, and forming cooperative
technological and industrial partnerships with leading global corporations and organizations. Founded in 1962 as the Korea Trade Promotion Corporation, the establishment of the national trade promotion organization coincided with the birth of Korea’s industrialization and economic expansion. Exports led the development of the national economy, aided by a variety of trade promotion initiatives overseen by KOTRA. The organization helps Korean firms analyze foreign markets, provides administrative support, and links potential overseas buyers with Korean companies seeking markets for their products. In 1995, the name of the organization was changed to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency in order to reflect the role of KOTRA in a new global age, as foreign companies increasingly sought to invest directly in Korea. KOTRA’s main responsibilities include the facilitation of international trade, promoting foreign investment in Korea, providing information and data to both Korean companies and foreign buyers, and operating a network of branch offices called Korea Business Centers around the world to gather information, establish contracts, and aid Korean companies operating in foreign markets. KOTRA’s overseas network includes 99 Korea Business Centers in 72 countries. The organization supports the export activities of Korean companies through business matchmaking that aims to link foreign buyers with the right products made by Korean companies. KOTRA holds trade shows, exhibitions, seminars and business meetings to help foreign companies seeking new products or partners in Korea. As part of these efforts, KOTRA also provides support for Korean companies participating in international exhibitions and conferences by setting up “Korea Pavilions” designed to promote Korean industries and increase awareness. In addition to promoting Korean companies and products and assisting in international commercial activities, KOTRA’s “Invest KOREA” investment promotion agency provides foreign companies with the administrative, policy
and procedural assistance for investing in the Korean market. The agency is staffed by experts from related government
ministries and organizations, and provides services, including investment consultation, market research, and advice on
legal and tax matters related to doing business in Korea. The IT era has created new challenges as well as roles for KOTRA. The agency has responded to the growth of ecommerce and web-based business activity by opening interactive Internet portal sites, including Invest KOREA Online and BuyKorea.org. The agency also operates a Cyber Business Center, which enables overseas buyers to conduct online business meetings with Korean companies as well as providing a wide range of online and digital services. As one of Korea’s most prominent government organizations, KOTRA has assisted the nation’s economic development. The organization has adapted to changing market conditions, by creating new support systems for investment in Korea as well as responding to new demand for Korean cultural contents, such as movies, TV dramas and computer games, in markets around the world.

 
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