Korean, Windsor-Essex leaders forge ties

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Developing partnerships with South Korean business leaders

BY DAVE HALL, THE WINDSOR STAR

WINDSOR, Ont. -- With more than 20 years of experience in Asian manufacturing markets, Peter McCormack is well placed to help develop business partnerships with South Korean business leaders and executives on their two-day visit to Windsor.

McCormack, who is now business development manager at Papp Plastics & Distributing Ltd., praised the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corp. for arranging the visit, which brought 23 city and business officials to Windsor from Gunsan, South Korea.

"It's a great opportunity to meet face to face and develop a dialogue," McCormack said. "Often, you go to trade shows, exchange business cards, and then nothing happens."

"But when you sit down with people, you get a sense that there's a willingness and a spirit within the room to make something happen," McCormack said.

The WEEDC and the Korean Industrial Complex Corp. signed an agreement Monday designed to encourage collaboration and business opportunities between the two organizations, and the regions and companies they represent.

On Tuesday, the delegation met with representatives from a variety of Windsor area companies and toured Auto21 at the University of Windsor and Crest Mold.

Gunsan, a city of about 275,000 people, is located on the Yellow Sea, 300 kilometres southwest of Seoul. Its primary industries are automotive, tourism, transportation, logistics and agriculture.

Mauro Cristofari, sales manager of Ro-Matt International, said his company was looking to build business alliances and develop new customers, and, at the same time, help South Korean companies enter the North American market.

"Windsor still needs some stimulus, and anything we can do to bring new companies and customers into this market would be positive," said Cristofari, whose company specializes in custom welding, material handling and automation, as well as custom machining.

"We've all operating in a global market, and for us this is a starting point," Cristofari said. "We've already had discussions here with representatives of Daejong Ltd., and we're hoping to do some mould assemblies for them."

South Korean companies can also provide a gateway into larger global markets, McCormack said.

"They have contacts and alliances with Hyundai and Kia, which we don't," said McCormack. "So building a relationship might open some doors for us in Asia, and the reverse for the companies visiting here this week."

Other companies taking advantage of the opportunity Tuesday were LHS Enterprises of Lakeshore, Oldcastle's Classic Tool & Die, Dajcor Aluminum of Chatham and Pristine LED of Windsor.

Copyright (c) The Windsor Star