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Korea Auto Parts Park opens in Detroit

Korea Auto Parts Park in Detroit was launched Monday to help Korean firms settle in the U.S. city.

The opening ceremony was organized by Korea’s Commerce Ministry and the state-run Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency.

KAPP provides offices with presentation devices and conference rooms.

“It takes a long time for small and medium auto part companies to win business contracts from global carmakers. That is when the local offices are needed,” KOTRA’s vice president Oh Sung-keun said.

“KAPP will greatly contribute to the export of auto parts, maximizing the benefits from the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.”

KOTRA said that it hired extra staff to aid the Korean companies’ initial settlement and buyer-hunting processes. Auto parts companies that move into these KAPP offices will be able to invite prospective buyers and present their products there.

KAPP can accommodate eight firms at a time, and currently has six auto part makers scheduled to move in, KOTRA officials said. KOTRA added that inquiries about KAPP have surged ever since last April when advertising of the space began, and that the final number of move-ins could be more than eight.

“When we make purchases from foreign auto part makers like those from Korea, whether their governments support engineering becomes an important criterion for our decision,” General Motors’ executive director Katherine Worthern said.

KOTRA and the Commerce Ministry said they will establish KAPP in Frankfurt, Germany in the second half of the year. KAPP in Frankfurt will help Korean firms take full advantage of the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement, KOTRA said.

Those who attended the opening ceremony included KOTRA vice president Oh, Michigan Economic Development Corp. senior vice president Douglas Smith, GM’s executive director Worthern, BorgWarner’s vice president Thomas Babineau, and Michigan state officials with some 50 prospective buyers.

By Chung Joo-won (