Shortcut to Body Shortcut to main menu

Feature Stories

  • Home
  • Why KOREA
  • Feature Stories
Honorary Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea, Founder and Principal, Three Kings Public Affairs : One-on-One with Alexander Kim
Alexander Kim, Honorary Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California in the United States of America, Alexander Kim holds a B.S. in Biology with a Political Science Minor from U.C. Irvine and an MBA from Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business.

His government career began over 20 years ago at the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office as Central Area Director, State of California (Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) as Deputy Director, City of Los Angeles (Councilmember David Ryu) as Senior Advisor, and State of California (Assembly member Cottie Petrie-Norris, 74th District) as District Director.

He served on three California State Commissions (Board of Optometry, Naturopathic Committee, and Behavioral Sciences), and as Public Affairs/Community Relations Manager for SoCal Gas, a Sempra Energy utility—the largest natural gas energy utility in America. Currently, he is on the Asian-American Advisory Boards for U.S. Congressmembers Hon. Young Kim (CA-40) and Hon. Michelle Steel (CA-45) and is working as Principal and CEO of Three Kings Public Affairs, a government and business consulting agency with a focus on Asian/Asian-American organizations to connect with B2B, B2C, and B2G (business to government) locally, nationally, and internationally.

Please tell us about your experience with Korea and why you are excited to serve as Honorary Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea.

I share much pride in my Korean heritage and my non-Korean friends often see me as an informal cultural Korean Ambassador answering questions about Korean culture whether it be our cuisine, arts/fashion/entertainment.

In my government positions and as a nonprofit leader, I have travelled to Korea several times as a 2nd Generation Korean-American delegate with other cohorts through the Overseas Koreans Foundation, Global Cooperation Society and Kyunghee University, and USC Network of Korean-American Leaders.

My excursions to Korea deepened my understanding about the history, socio-economic, and politics of Korea and I feel his Honorary Ambassador position is a continuation of what I have been doing already but now, on a grander scale.

Please tell us about your future plans or ambitions as honorary ambassador.

My future ambitions as Honorary Ambassador only continues what I have accomplished in my past career as a government official.

While I was at the California Governor’s Office, I was actively engaged in coordinating support of all free trade discussions (including the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS-FTA) discussions in D.C.) throughout the state at all Chambers of Commerce, State Legislatures, local government (counties and cities), trade associations, labor associations, small business organizations, international business groups including Korean and Korean-American import-export companies, on behalf of our government.

I further helped coordinate meetings for our business interests with our U.S. Senators, U.S. Congress Members, and the President to demonstrate how free trade helps accelerate foreign direct investment. In turn, this positive feedback loop helps employ more Americans, and contributes to increased taxes to help provide more services to all Americans and foreign aid to our international allies, including South Korea.

As I continue to advocate capital growth for our American businesses in mainstream seminars and events, most Americans do not know, or see the benefits of the KORUS-FTA. With this official position, my goal is to have every American small to medium enterprise (SME) and all Fortune 500 companies to invest in South Korea on a massive scale.
Alexander Kim, Honorary Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea
Please explain the kinds of investment cooperation between Korea and the USA.

The United States of America (USA) and South Korea have had diplomatic relations since 1882 and reaffirmed this alliance in 1953. KOTRA has been proactive in hosting business networking events with investors to elevate opportunities for investment across the Pacific.

American investment in Korea, comprising of mostly manufacturing, finance and insurance, and nonbank holding companies, is very strong with USD 39.1 billion in 2019. As an allied partner with over 25,000 U.S. military troops at the DMZ, a tremendous amount of military cooperation further strengthens the economics and politics between the two countries with the maintaining of national security on the Korean peninsula.

Ever since the passage of the KORUS-FTA in 2007 (executed in 2012), and the essential re-establishment of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renamed as the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMC) under our past U.S. President Donald Trump, Korea is now the USA’s seventh largest trading partner with total trade in 2022 of USD 221.4 billion, making America among the top three in trade.

As the world faces climate change, the rush of technology conversion from fossil-based polluting energy to a carbon-free world, US auto manufacturers and other high-tech companies are further relying on Korea’s technological edge in the Electric Vehicle (EV) space producing batteries and silicon chips.

Can you tell us what Invest KOREA is doing in your country?

As a business and government consultant to American companies, I work with Invest KOREA/KOTRA, and the Korean Consulate in Los Angeles as a liaison to help connect them with investors interested in trade and/or investment in Korea.

Back in 2021, I joined with KITA (Korea International Trading Association) to help KOTRA to establish ties with the County of San Bernardino to establish a Memorandum of Understanding to allow greater cooperation of the establishment of American businesses to expand in Korea and vice-versa. The meeting, attended by representatives from Nongshim and Daesang, also established a relationship with the Native American tribal nation with the largest tribal gaming casino resort in California, Yaamava (San Manuel Mission Band of Indians), to do business with Korea.

Currently, I am assisting with the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, as an Honorary Committee Board member and KOTRA, in hosting the World Korean Economic Forum (Hansang) on Oct. 11-14, 2023 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Normally, this has been hosted in South Korea for the past 20 years but it will be the first time this global event in another nation. I have been tasked to help the chamber in making sure our government officials and many American investors/companies are invited to this seminar to connect with Korean SMEs for business.

Why do you think a company should cooperate with Invest KOREA to invest in Korea?

As the world’s 10th largest economy with a world-class digital infrastructure run by a highly skilled and educated workforce, Korea is the only Asian nation that has a free-trade agreement with the USA that American companies can leverage economically, in comparison to other countries if they are looking to invest in Asia.

Investors should take advantage of working with Invest KOREA since it is the only entity that truly specializes with foreign companies by providing consultation and guidance from the beginning to the end with continuous support from KOTRA offices in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Alexander Kim, Honorary Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea

By Taehwa Hong
Investment Public Relations Team / Invest KOREA
Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA)

Meta information