Press Releases


The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and Partners Announce Business Trade Mission to Taiwan and South Korea

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation with the Rhode Island District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston, will host a Rhode Island Business Trade Mission to Taiwan and South Korea from August 21-28, 2015.

"We need to be attracting companies to do business in Rhode Island and taking innovative approaches to stimulate our economy," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "We know that a large number of jobs in the state are supported by international trade. This trip is an important opportunity to increase our exports around the world and create even more jobs and opportunity for Rhode Islanders."

"Showing the world the benefits of doing business with Rhode Island companies helps boost our local economy and drive job growth," said Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce. "It's critical for the state's economy that we expand our borders."

"In today's competitive business climate, it is critical for small businesses to look for opportunities beyond America's borders," said SBA District Director Mark S. Hayward. "SBA encourages Rhode Island entrepreneurs interested in expanding into global markets to explore this important trade mission."

"We encourage Rhode Island businesses to join us on this mission. Trade missions are highly effective vehicles for accessing high-level officials and opening doors in foreign markets," said Raymond Fogarty, executive director, the John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University. "We have a long track record of coordinating successful trade missions with proven results. Our partnership with U.S. Commercial Service offices in foreign markets provides the on-the-ground support and matchmaking that is so beneficial to Rhode Island business looking to expand in the Korean and Taiwan markets."

"Taiwan not only is one of Rhode Island's major trading partners but also plays a critical role in the international supply chain of tech industries, in particular ICT products. Taiwan also serves as an ideal gateway to the greater Chinese market because of its open economy, rule of law, well-established IP protection and connection to Chinese market. We sincerely welcome Rhode Island's trade mission and will do our best in collaborating with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to make this mission a successful one," said Scott Lai, director general, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston.

With a population of 23 million, Taiwan is a thriving democracy, vibrant economy and highly attractive export market for many Rhode Island companies: • As Rhode Island's seventh largest global export market and second largest Asian export market, Taiwan had a total 2014 export of goods value of $90.8 million, putting it ahead of all European countries except Germany. • According to a U.S. Department of Commerce report, for every $185,000 exported goods and services, one direct job, and several indirect jobs, are created. Taiwan is a sophisticated consumer market, plugged into consumer trends in Japan and Korea.

The long-anticipated Korea - U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) went into effect on March 15, 2012, becoming the nation's largest FTA since NAFTA. The agreement is expected to increase U.S. exports to Korea by approximately $10-12 billion (USD) per year. • In Rhode Island alone, exports of goods to Korea grew by almost $10 million from 2013 to 2014, creating at least 50 jobs. • The Korean $1 trillion (USD) economy is heavily-weighted toward international trade. • Given Korea's strong shipping and air cargo infrastructure, this is not only a market for U.S. goods and services, but also a hub for eventual expansion into other foreign markets. • South Korea is also Rhode Island's second largest source of foreign students in higher education institutions, according to the Institute of International Education, and their expenditure in the state tops $23 million per year.

Through this mission, Commerce RI, with its partners, will help participating Rhode Island companies to gain valuable market insights into the Taiwanese and South Korean markets, make key industry contacts, solidify business strategies, and advance specific projects, along with serving as a guide throughout the trip. The trip is funded through a cooperative agreement with the SBA.

Rhode Island companies interested in participating in this trade mission should contact Commerce RI Director of International Trade Programs Kathy Therieau at or (401) 278-9139.

About Rhode Island Commerce Corporation The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation is the full-service, official economic development organization for the state of Rhode Island. A quasi-public agency, the corporation serves as a government and community resource to help streamline the business expansion in, and relocation to, Rhode Island. The agency assists companies with commercial real estate, business financing, workforce training and other relevant issues.

Related links

Share this: