July 19, 2024

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Port of Seattle Advances International Trade and Information Sharing with South Korean Agency KOSME

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Memorandum of understanding establishes shared objectives of connecting small and medium enterprises to King County

The Port of Seattle welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME) earlier this month. The South Korean government-funded organization is dedicated to helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups form partnerships abroad and scale their global footprint. This memorandum affirms the Port’s and KOSME’s shared intention to collaborate and facilitate interest among enterprises in King County. As one of the region’s strongest trade relationships is with South Korea, this partnership will open the door for new economic development in the region.

“I’m thrilled to have reached this milestone with KOSME, and to begin the work we’ve established as our shared objectives,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Sam Cho. “My recent visit to Korea underscored the importance of developing these strategic partnerships between our region and the many Korean SMEs and startups. There is so much opportunity to address some of our toughest challenges by sharing information and innovative approaches with global partners.”

“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding marks a significant milestone in fostering collaboration, cooperation, and trade development between Korea and the United States,” said KOSME President Seogjin Kang. “KOSME is excited to partner with the Port of Seattle to facilitate the growth and expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises and startups in both regions. We believe that this partnership will create new opportunities for innovation, economic growth, and the strengthening of our international ties. Together, we are committed to advancing the success of SMEs and contributing to the prosperity of both our communities.”

During the memorandum’s two-year term, the Port and KOSME intend to:

  • Facilitate business connections and drive growth of SMEs across Port properties and throughout King County
  • Cohost events in tech innovation and other topics
  • Share strategies on how to pursue business development here and in Korea

This memorandum builds on the Port’s continuing efforts to engage South Korea’s surging economy. In 2022, the Port helped host a U.S.–Korea trade reception and conference alongside a contingent of state and local commerce leaders. Later that year, the Port supported the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s partnership with South Korea and Busan Port Authority to study a green cargo shipping corridor between the two gateways. The Port renewed its sister port agreement with Busan in 2023.

More on KOSME and the Korean Economy

KOSME has been assisting SMEs and startups since 1979, taking on different initiatives across multiple sectors. SMEs are critical to the Korean economy, making up 99% of all Korean enterprises. The rapid growth of the Korean economy since the 1960s positions it as one of the largest exporters in the world and an ideal trade partner for Washington.

About Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME)

The Korea SMEs & Startups Agency (KOSME) is a nonprofit, government-funded organization established to implement government policies and programs for the sound growth and development of Korean SMEs.

To achieve its purpose, KOSME operates financial and nonfinancial programs for SMEs. Through financial programs, KOSME provides financing for SMEs to expand operations, develop new products, and convert their business structures. With advisory programs including consulting, training, marketing, and global cooperation programs, KOSME supports SMEs to enhance their global competitiveness.

About the Port of Seattle

Founded in 1911 by a vote of the people as a special purpose government, the Port of Seattle’s mission is to promote economic opportunities and quality of life in the region by advancing trade, travel, commerce, and job creation in an equitable, accountable, and environmentally responsible manner.

The Port owns and operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Fishermen’s Terminal — home of the North Pacific fishing fleet — and public marinas. The Port also owns two cruise ship terminals, a grain terminal, real estate assets, and marine cargo terminals through its partnership in the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

Port operations help support nearly 200,000 jobs and $7 billion in wages throughout the region. Over the next 13 years, the Port’s Century Agenda seeks to create an additional 100,000 jobs through economic growth while becoming the nation’s leading green and energy-efficient port.



Chris Guizlo | Port of Seattle
(206) 787-3433 | [email protected]


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