President, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), South Korea
Commentary: The President of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) studied political science at Seoul National
University, and has an MBA from New York University and a doctorate in
business administration from Hanyang University.
boasts deep familiarity with Korea's foreign trade. He has held a
number of high-level positions, including Vice-Minister for Commerce,
Industry and Energy (2004-2006) and President of the Korea Export
Insurance Corporation, an office he held until assuming his new job in
South Korea's export-driven economy is suffering: in 2008, the country posted its
first trade deficit since the Asian financial crisis in 1997. Cho is
pursuing a twin-pronged strategy to turn around the economy, seeking
new export markets and encouraging foreign industry to take advantage
of the weak Korean won.
KOTRA plans to cultivate African
markets as a target for Korean electronic and consumer goods. Home
electronics and mobile telecommunications will all receive a big push
on the continent. South Korean construction and petroleum exploration
operations are concentrated in North Africa, and KOTRA has a strong
presence there with offices in Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Libya. Regional offices in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya will help extend South Korea's reach into the emerging markets below the Sahara.