Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published April 21, 2011


10-day mission to include stops in China, Korea and Vietnam

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 21, 2011) – In an effort to strengthen ties and increase trade and investment with one of the world’s fastest growing economic regions, Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that he will lead a 10-day economic development mission to Asia departing in late May. The Governor, who has previously led international missions to Israel, Ireland and Sweden, will join business leaders and educators for stops in China, Korea and Vietnam, all top or emerging export markets for Maryland. The State has long maintained a strong presence in Asia, opening the Maryland China Center in 1996 and becoming the first U.S. state to open a trade and investment office in China. The State also has trade offices in South Korea; Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam; as well as Taiwan and India. The Governor announced the trade mission during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with City of Seoul, South Korea’s Mayor Oh Se-hoon, which seeks to increase trade and investment opportunities, particularly in science and technology, between Maryland and Seoul.

“I look forward to leading this economic development mission not only to strengthen our long-standing relationships in China, Korea and Vietnam, but to ensure that we help Maryland-based companies tap into the tremendous economic expansion that is sweeping across Asia,” said Governor O’Malley. “With economists predicting that Asia could have 50 percent of global GDP by 2050, it is critical that we move forward now to explore new opportunities for trade and investment, particularly in our shared strengths on science and technology.”

The mission’s delegation will include Maryland Secretary of State John McDonough, Secretary of Business and Economic Development Christian S. Johansson, and Director of Ethnic Commissions David Lee, as well as more than a dozen private sector and academic leaders, including University of Maryland, College President Wallace Loh and the Governor’s International Advisory Board Chair and Chairman Emeritus of RTKL Harold Adams.

As part of the mission, the Governor and his delegation will meet with potential investment and trade partners and government leaders, including a visit to the City of Seoul. The Governor will address the 13th Shanghai Bio-Forum, one of China’s largest biopharmaceutical events, which attracts leaders from China’s top drug companies, and will visit the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies. The delegation will also participate in the Maryland in China Banquet, which will bring together Maryland companies in Shanghai as well as Chinese firms to discuss trade and investment in Maryland.

Last year, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s Office of International Trade and Investment engaged more than 250 Asian companies, helping to attract six new foreign firms from China and Korea to Maryland. In addition, the Office assisted 75 Maryland companies export their products to Asia, helping to generate $65 million in sales.

Maryland’s growing minority community accounts for all of the State’s population growth in the past 10 years. The State’s Asian population has grown by more than 50 percent since 2000, with Asian residents numbering more than 300,000.

The O’Malley-Brown Administration has taken significant steps to ramp up the State’s international outreach, including opening a number of number of foreign offices in targeted countries, convening the Governor’s International Advisory Council to provide strategic direction and develop a plan to enhance Maryland’s global profile, expanding the capacity of the Port of Baltimore with a new 50-foot berth, and opening the State’s first International Incubator in 2009 at the University of Maryland, College Park to help foreign-owned companies launch U.S. operations.

The efforts have produced significant results. Since 2007, Maryland has attracted more than 40 foreign-owned companies from high-growth countries, including China, Brazil, Korea, Russia, India, Sweden and the United Kingdom, with about one-quarter of these companies locating in the International Incubator. Companies range from Ellickson Software, an Ireland-based supplier of software and hardware to the hospitality industry which has an American location in Baltimore City, to Daewoong Pharmaceutical, the largest prescription drug supplier in Korea which has its U.S. operations in Montgomery County.

Over the past two years, the State has opened foreign offices in Russia, India and Colombia to attract foreign-owned companies to Maryland and encourage trade opportunities. The offices, which are opened on a contingency basis with no up-front cost to taxpayers, are part of the State’s network of foreign offices in China (Shanghai), France (Paris), Israel (Haifa), South Korea (Seoul), Taiwan (Taipei), Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) and the Western Balkans (Montenegro).

Maryland is well-positioned for growth in the global market, with more than 300 foreign-owned companies from 30 countries currently calling Maryland home. Roughly 105,000 Marylanders, or 3.5 percent of the workforce, are employed by foreign-owned firms, with companies headquartered in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany as the top three foreign employers in Maryland.

Maryland’s Office of International Investment and Trade works to stimulate foreign direct investment in the State, offers export assistance for small and mid-sized Maryland companies and coordinates international trade and investment missions and trade show opportunities for Maryland companies. For more information on resources available to business that want to market their products or services globally, visit