GTI International Trade & Investment Expo 2014 takes place from Oct. 23 to 26 in Gangneung City, Gangwon Province. The four members of the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) – South Korea, China, Russia and Mongolia – will participate in the expo with approximately 500 companies and 3,000 buyers from 10 or so other countries including Japan, India, and Canada.
Established in 1992, the GTI is an inter-government council for regional development in Northeast Asia, and its scope of business was expanded to cover the East Sea region of Korea in 2006. Gangwon Province suggested the opening of the expo so as to promote cooperation among the local governments of the member countries, and hosted the first GTI expo in Gangneung last year. Also, President Park Geun-hye agreed to turn the GTI into an economic cooperation mechanism for the development of Northeast Asia with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who visited Seoul in July 2014.
This year’s GTI expo is held under the slogan of Economic Hallyu to Northeast Asia with Gangwon Provincial Specialty Products. The exhibits will include medical devices, biotechnology, clean food, eco-friendly manufactured goods and many more. At the same time, the Gangwon Province PR Center will be run during the period to promote the Pyongchang Winter Olympics, Donghae Free Trade Zone, and the tourism industry of the province.
Art troupes from Jilin Province, China and Dottori Prefecture, Japan will perform at the opening ceremony before the Korea-China IR Session, GTI International Cooperation Forum and trade and investment meetings. The international cooperation forum on the second day is drawing particular attention as the joint development project of Rajin, Hunchun, and Khasan is about to yield visible results. Well-organized cooperation among the regions and the East Sea area will be the main topic of the conference so that it can be adopted as a high-priority national policy goal of Korea.
Also, a variety of hands-on events are prepared for the general public as well as international buyers. Examples include specialty goods bargain sales, tasting events, and gift distribution. “We have prepared various programs such as photo exhibitions, cooking competitions, art performances and youth art exhibitions with our sister cities Jilin Province, Dottori Prefecture, and Alberta, Canada,” said Jeong Hong-jin, head of the Gangwon Provincial Government GTI Expo Steering Committee. He added, “Additional programs for the experience of the culture of Gangwon will be provided along with business meetings.”
The number of foreign figures visiting the expo is expected to exceed that of any other international expo hosted in Korea. Specifically, the guests include Maruhan Group Chairman Han Chang-woo, who is also the chairman of the expo organizing committee; more than 100 executive members of the World Federation of Korea Association of Commerce; 40 or so CEOs of the members of the Chinese Enterprise Association; the Federation of Korean Residents in Japan; 200 corporate executives from Jilin, Hunan, Heilongjiang and Shandong; 100 Chinese entrepreneurs doing business in Korea; those from the Maritime Provinces of Russia; and many more. The host city is going to invite 100 domestic buyers as well so as to maximize the economic opportunities of the expo and help small firms’ businesses in the domestic market.
Tailored consulting for overseas market penetration and investment attraction is also available for the buyers, the CEOs and the participating companies. The Korea-China IR Session, which is scheduled for Oct. 23, is expected to be attended by 300 entrepreneurs from both countries.
“I hope that the GTI Expo will develop itself into one of the expos representing Asia, so that Gangwon Province becomes the center of transportation, logistics, trade, and tourism of the region based on economic cooperation exchanges between Northeast Asian countries,” the steering committee head said. He continued, “In this context, we will focus the development of the expo on wellness, healthcare, tourism, biotech, medical equipment, and clean primary industry goods unique to the province, which will be of great help for those companies located in Gangwon to make inroads into the global market.”