South Korea, while not known publically as a major producer of cars, has some considerable automotive corporations- both Hyundai and Kia come from the peninsular nation. And in South Korea, Hyundais are extremely popular: an estimated 80% of the market share is controlled by Hyundai. Americans” inabilities to gain any sort of foothold have frustrated American companies, though Ford and Chrysler in particular: GM owns Daewoo, South Korea”s fourth largest automaker.
Previous free trade agreements with Korea have fallen apart, with a 2007 free trade agreement signed by the Bush Administration failing to open up the Korean market over concerns about auto and beef exports. The inaction in Korea has proved bothersome to American lawmakers, and South Korea sent Han Duk-soo, a former Prime Minister of South Korea, to talk to the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. This conference was intended to ease concerns and open up the pathway that the 2007 agreement charted.
South Korea”s desire to see the agreement implemented comes through in its willingness to send an ambassador of Han Duk-soo”s caliber to Detroit, and with Alan Mulally, Ford”s CEO, on President Obama”s export council, it seems likely that there will be movement on the issue. But, with an economic titan of Hyundai”s caliber sitting overseas influencing South Korean government, how much will actually change? It”s an interesting question, and the answer will become clear soon.
– By: Zain Haq
Source: Detroit News