Prominent South Korean diplomat visits Central Maine to discuss business growth and opportunity

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WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - International business was on the mind of many in Central Maine Monday as the Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Boston, Yonghyon Kim, is in town.

"So that's why I'm here -- to get to know the people of Maine and have an exchange of views about how we promote the business and commercial relations between Korea and Maine," said Kim.

He met with the Rotary Club in a series of meetings with business and community leaders over Monday and Tuesday.

South Korea is the United States' sixth largest trade partner.

And South Korea and Maine have a blossoming trade relationship with Maine exporting $67 million of goods there last year.

"It's very satisfying to know that our trade relations between Maine and South Korea is growing," said Kim. "Last year, as I said in my presentation, it grew by 12.5%."

He says that the growth is nice, but there's more potential with a higher trade volume.

Kim is in Central Maine thanks to an invitation by FirstPark executive director Jim Dinkle, who sees this as a great opportunity for the area.

"The sky is the limit I think," said Dinkle. "Just because we're halfway around the world from one another, again with jet transportation and so forth now, we can be there in eight or nine hours non-stop as he said from Boston to Seoul."

Kim says lobster exporting is of course huge, but he's excited for some other areas of potential growth.

"We have more new areas like clean energy and bio-tech and the bio-economy," said Kim.

Kim also said that he looks forward to bringing South Korean businesspeople to Maine as well as bringing Maine businesspeople to South Korea.