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(LEAD) World-OKTA meeting of Korean biz leaders opens in Gangwon Province

All News 19:20 October 04, 2016

(CHANGES photo; ADDS remarks in paras 9-10)

JEONGSEON, Gangwon Province, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- An annual conference of South Korean business leaders worldwide opened in the eastern province of Gangwon Tuesday to help expand their business networks and publicize the 2018 Winter Olympic games to be held in PyeongChang, organizers said.

The three-day event, the 21st of its kind, brought together more than 800 members of the World Federation of Overseas Korean Traders Association, or World-OKTA, doing business in 140 cities across the globe at the High One resort in Jeongseon, some 20 kilometers east of PyeongChang.

This year's session, co-hosted by the World-OKTA and Yonhap News Agency, a leading news wire service in South Korea, has the theme of "Establishing and taking advantage of the economic networks of Koreans."

Participants will explore ways to find new export and other business opportunities through various events, including one-on-one meetings with potential trade partners to be organized by the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT).

They also plan to join efforts for South Korea's preparation for the hosting of the 2018 games as the venue of the conference suggests.

"It will serve as a chance for the members of the World-OKTA with 141 branches in 71 countries to step up joint efforts to publicize the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, with one year and four months left until its opening, and enhance the stature of their home country," Park Ki-chool, the chairman of the federation, said in an interview with Yonhap.

Participants gather for the 21st World Federation of Korean Traders Association (World-OKTA) Convention at the High One resort in Jeongseon, Gangwon Province, on Oct. 4, 2016. (Yonhap)

It's the first time for the World-OKTA to hold a formal event in Gangwon Province since a trade fair in PyeongChang four years ago.

Among those who joined the opening ceremony are Shim Shoo-hwa, Yonhap's managing director for marketing; Gangwon Province Gov. Choi Moon-soon; Rep. Kim Jung-hoon of the ruling Saenuri Party; Lee Hee-beom, president of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the Olympics; and Lee Tae-sik, vice head of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

"Products of South Korea's small and medium enterprises are sold across the world because of the World-OKTA members' help," Yonhap CEO Park No-hwang said in a congratulatory message read by Shim. "The World-OKTA has become bigger not only in size, but with the members' passion and ability it has become the center of Korea's global network."

Park also said he hopes the World-OKTA meeting can provide the opportunity for nation's economy to take another leap.

Established in 1981, the World-OKTA has served as a major trading association for Korean businesspeople in foreign countries. It has more than 6,600 members.

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