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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Development corp. inks deal with Korean city of Gunsan

South Korean city of Gunsan would seem to be an ideal match for Windsor

BY DAVE HALL, THE WINDSOR STAR

With an economy built on heavy industry, transportation, agriculture and tourism, the South Korean city of Gunsan would seem to be an ideal match for Windsor.

Those synergies were formalized Monday with the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the two cities' economic development agencies, designed to build and develop business and economic relationships.

"There are many things we do here that are not dissimilar to what they do in Gunsan," said Ron Gaudet, CEO of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, after signing the agreement. "Our priority sectors have many commonalities and that's the basis for setting these common goals and opportunities."

The agreement resulted from a visit to Gunsan by Gaudet and Rakesh Naidu, vice-president of community development and strategic initiatives for the WEEDC, in May.

At that time, the trip was hosted by the Korean Industrial Complex Corporation or KICOX, which was established in 1997 to represent 48 industrial areas throughout South Korea and more than 42,000 companies.

"While in Gunsan, we had the opportunity to promote the region's assets to a group of companies that are interested in exploring opportunities in North America, specifically in the Windsor-Essex region," said Gaudet. "We intend to build on those relationships and the objective of this agreement is to encourage collaboration and create new business opportunities between Gunsan and Windsor."

Included in the delegation were nine representatives from Gunsan city hall and 14 from the city's business community.

Gunsan, a city of about 275,000 inhabitants, is located on the Yellow Sea, about 300 kilometres southwest of Seoul.

In addition to tourism, fishing and agricultural industries, it's also home to a General Motors plant, where the Aveo is assembled, and a Daewoo truck assembly plant.

Gunsan became a sister city to Windsor in 2004 and this agreement will help build on that relationship, said DongShin Moon, mayor of Gunsan.

"I look forward to this visit for economic exchange in the automotive field, which both Gunsan and Windsor share in common, to be a trigger for more vigorous and continuous sister city relationships and exchange," said Moon.

The two-day trip will include tours of CS Wind, county greenhouse operations, Auto21 at the University of Windsor and Crest Mold.

"Through various activities for exchange and co-operation, I believe our two organizations will promote mutual benefits and hope this can help us support business better and enhance economic exchange in both regions," said Jeong-Hwan Lee, director of KICOX.

dhall@windsorstar.com

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