Area officials are hoping a recent trip to South Korea will enhance business relationships on an international scale.

Walker Zulkoski, director of the NGage economic development group, joined Gov. Pete Ricketts and others on the trip.

On Tuesday evening, the group met with approximately 40 representatives from the South Korean business community at a reception hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

During the reception, a press release stated that Ricketts welcomed Korean guests via a recorded address and invited them to visit Nebraska and explore opportunities for business and investment.

Members of the trade delegation also had the opportunity to pitch Nebraska communities as potential locations for investment from Korean companies.

Zulkosksi said that at least one company was looking to expand to the American Midwest, and Nebraska is now on its radar.

“We’ve seen quite a bit of foreign direct investment with so many companies in our industrial park already,” Zulkoski said. “Even Rare Earth Salts does international stuff. We don’t really have any representation from Korea and if other companies can be successful in Beatrice, why not Korean companies? The point of this was to open that door and see where that goes.”

Korea imports approximately $517 million worth of goods from Nebraska, making it the state’s fifth largest trading partner. In April 2015, Ricketts announced the opening of the first Korean company offices at NIC. FDMR Inc. President Suji Park established operations in Nebraska to partner with the University Food Processing Center to develop market-ready bulgogi products and complete final product development and design for Korean food products sold in the United States.

“South Korea has been a strong international partner of Nebraska’s for years,” Ricketts said in a press release. “Shared values of hard work and loyalty have cultivated a strong and prosperous relationship. As our fifth-largest export market, South Korea provides numerous opportunities for Nebraskans every year, and we are working to grow trade opportunities and partnerships.”

Zulkoski said the purpose of the trip was to build relationships with foreign companies, a goal he and NGage will continue working toward.

Reach Scott Koperski at scott.koperski@beatricedailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKoperski.

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