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Korean economy is an important partner in Dallas: US mayor

With Korea serving as one of the largest trading partners of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is in Seoul pushing to expand the presence of local enterprises in the Lone Star State. 

The mayor invited some 30 delegates, including representatives from DFW International Airport, to meet with local government officials and business executives and discuss the benefits of business operations in the DFW region as well as the economic relationship between North Texas and Korea.

“The reason we are here in Seoul is that the Korean economy is an important partner in Dallas,” said Rawlings during a media round table interview at Conrad Hotel in Seoul on Thursday. 

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

“We have had a nonstop (Incheon-DFW flight service) for five years, from Korean Air … and because of that, the amount of Korean business we do is significant,” he continued. “But what we see when we talk to people in Korea, and in China, is that they are not really understanding what Dallas is.”

As the former head of TracyLocke media company and a former CEO of Pizza Hut, the Dallas mayor says one of the main focuses of his visit is to spur economic expansion to Korea by showcasing the DFW region as ideal for local companies for business growth and development, with no personal income tax, low corporate taxes and low operating costs.

According to the mayor, the region is home to two of the largest US cities in Dallas and Fort Worth, with 31 percent of the state’s high tech jobs and 30 percent of its manufacturing jobs. As of 2016, DFW stood as the US’ fourth most populous city with a population of 7.2 million.

Currently, Korea serves as DFW’s second-largest trading partner behind China. Bilateral trade between the Dallas region and Korea equates to roughly $6.92 billion, with Korea accounting for 55.4 percent of imports, while exports to Korea make up 44.6 percent of total trade.

“Samsung is the No. 2 foreign investor in the state of Texas,” said Rawlings.

“I think the most important strategic (investment sector), and what is imperative for Dallas-Fort Worth, is in the area of technology and big data,” he added. “So when Samsung expands their market in those areas, it benefits both parties.”

Rawlings is also participating in a panel session at the Third Meeting of OECD Champion Mayors Conference in Seoul, which is being held on Thursday and Friday. 

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)
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