Mayor spearheads development trip to S. Korea

by Public Information Office | Nov 05, 2014

 Mayor Jim Darling and McAllen Economic Development Corporation officials will travel next week to the Republic of South Korea to meet with business leaders, manufacturers and participate in a global innovation forum.


It will be Darling’s first visit to Korea, but he said the trip will cover themes that he and McAllen know very well: economic development and job creation.


“Korea is a dynamic country with one of the most powerful economies in the world,” said Mayor Jim Darling. “This will be a terrific opportunity to for us to meet with some of Korea’s business leaders and manufacturers, listen to them and let them get to know us better.”


Darling, who will also take part on panel at the Daejeon Global Innovation Forum, also said that he wants to expound on McAllen as a region while in Korea. He said that McAllen works well with Reynosa and Mexico to create a regional hub for manufacturing – especially auto manufacturing – which Korea excels at.


The Mayor and McAllen EDC officials will be in Korea Nov. 9-14.

The McAllen EDC has long traveled to Korea for economic development, and its CEO Keith Patridge has built ties with Korean officials there and here in the McAllen area.


In Korea, Patridge will speak about the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research and Education Initiative, rapid response, advanced manufacturing and the city’s goal to be one of the top three advanced manufacturing locations in the world.


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Earlier this year, the McAllen EDC visited Daejeon, one of Korea’s largest cities with a population of 1.5 million and signed a memorandum of understanding with that city that promotes the two working together on education and economic issues. There are about a dozen Korean companies currently located in Reynosa including electronics giant LG Electronics, SamKwang, Kwangsung, Woori Industrial, Ensung Printing, and American Empack.


McAllen has successfully partnered with Reynosa to recruit jobs to both sides of the border, and Reynosa Mayor Jose Elias Leal will also be one of the members of the delegation making the trip.


Korea and others have invested in facilities in McAllen and Reynosa contributing to the economies on both sides of the border. McAllen’s unemployment rate for 2014 is the lowest it’s been in at least 5 years, averaging 6.0% monthly – lowest in the Rio Grande Valley.