"I will maximize the collaboration between Hansang's expertise and the network of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce USA. We will strive to enhance the activation of Korean small and medium-sized enterprises' expansion into the United States and ensure the successful hosting of Hansang's 2023 World Korean Business Convention (WKBC)."

Byung Goo Hwang, Chairman of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce USA (KACCUSA), welcomed a delegation of representatives from small and medium-sized enterprises, including Ki Moon Kim, Chairman of the Small and Medium Business Corporation (SBC), who accompanied President Seok Yeol Yoon  on his state visit to the United States on April 28 (local time) in Orlando, USA.

On this day, KACCUSA and SBC signed a "Memorandum of Understanding for Support and Cooperation in Korean SMEs' Expansion into the United States and Mutual Cooperation." The two organizations agreed to closely cooperate, especially considering that WKBC, which had previously been held only in Korea, will be hosted overseas for the first time in Orange County, California, USA, in October this year.

The organizing committee for the Hansang Conference was also established with KACCUSA at its center, and Chairman Hwang served as the chairman of the organizing committee. The committee also appointed Chairman Ki Moon Kim  as the "Honorary Chairman" of the Hansang Conference.

Chairman Hwang emphasized, "We will make the 21st World Korean Business Convention, which will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County from October 11th to 14th, a grand festival for 2.5 million Korean Americans." Chairman Hwang is the head of the umbrella organization overseeing regional Korean American chambers of commerce established in 78 cities within 50 states of the United States, leading the largest Korean American economic organization in the country.

The Overseas Korean Foundation (OKF) plans to hold WKBC overseas every other year, starting with the event in Orange County. The 21st conference, scheduled for October, will lay the foundation for future events.

Chairman Hwang stated, "As this is our first overseas event, we will accumulate know-how on how to host the conference abroad and transfer that knowledge to other countries' organizing committees," adding, "We will do our best to prepare, with the mindset of creating a foundation for hosting events abroad."

Byung Goo Hwang, the head of the largest Korean-American economic organization in the United States, made the journey to the United States in 2001. Originally from Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Hwang has been involved in orchid farming for 21 years since immigrating to Orlando, Florida. He operates a 10-acre (over 40,000 square meters) orchid farm called "Korus Orchid."

In 2016, after establishing the Korean American Chamber of Commerce Central Florida, he served as its inaugural chairman. Following that, in 2019, he became the director of Korean American Chamber of Commerce USA, and in 2021, he assumed the role of chairman.

If you drive about 30 minutes from Orlando, USA, you will come across Byung Goo Hwang's vast greenhouse farm. Hwang's farm, known for cultivating orchids, including the Cymbidium orchid, has gained fame within the United States. Hwang himself is widely recognized as an expert in the field. The orchids grown here are supplied to major retail chains such as Walmart and Home Depot.

He is also respected in Ulsan's floral industry for his achievement of successfully exporting orchids to the challenging US market over 20 years ago. Originally operating an orchid farm in Ulsan, Hwang decided to focus on the US market rather than China, which only showed sporadic demand during the Chinese New Year, to protect the domestic market. Thus, he established an agricultural cooperative called the Nongsoran Export Farming Association in Korea.

"We established the cooperative with the goal of bringing Korean orchids to the US market and selling them in the world's largest market. With the participation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ulsan City, and the cooperative, we established the farm here in Orlando, Florida, as an export base."

To facilitate the export of orchids to the US, Ulsan City and the cooperative invested over 800 million won to establish a local corporation in Orlando and develop a 3,000-square-meter export promotion center. As a result, in April 2001, 30,000 intermediate-stage Cymbidium orchids grown at the Ulsan Nongsoran Horticultural Complex were exported to the United States for the first time. However, it was not a smooth journey for Hwang, a simple farmer with limited English skills, to convince the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Ulsan City Hall and rally the support of the cooperative for his venture to the US.

Initially, the Cymbidium orchids he brought from Korea were not allowed to be imported into the US due to quarantine regulations.

Since the orchids had to be completely soil-free when exported to the US, the process resulted in a loss of 20-40%. During the long transit time of 15-20 days, the orchids suffered from nutrient deficiencies and low survival rates even after being transplanted in the US. Eventually, Hwang decided to import orchids from Taiwan. There was an agreement between Taiwan and the US that allowed the importation of plants in pots.

Even when importing orchids from Taiwan, Hwang tirelessly worked through the Atlanta Consulate General and the US Embassy to resolve quarantine issues.

"At the time, Han Deok-su was serving as the Prime Minister and the US Ambassador. During his tenure, Deok Su Han and Gyeong Gyu Kim, an official from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs who was assigned to the embassy, visited my farm. It was during this visit that I directly proposed the resolution of quarantine issues to Ambassador Han and Director Kim"

Upon Chairman Hwang's suggestion, Gyeong Gyu Kim, the official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and his successors Byung Hong Park and Jae Han Kwon actively took action to resolve the orchid quarantine issue. After more than a decade of efforts by Chairman Hwang and the assistance of our diplomatic officials, an agreement allowing the importation of plants in pots was finally reached between the two countries in 2017.

To him, the Garden Center is more than just a simple flower shop. He plans to employ Korean youth to help alleviate youth unemployment in the country. At the same time, he intends to import all the equipment, materials, and supplies related to facility operations and sales for the Garden Center from Korea. Just as his farm became a stepping stone for Korean orchids' export to the United States, his dream is to make the Garden Center a base for exporting agricultural facilities and supplies domestically.

In pursuit of his second dream, he continues to work tirelessly, including the successful organization of the Suncheonman International Garden Expo 2023 in a decade, achieving $40 million in Korean orchid exports, and installing 500 Korean Garden Centers.

As the leader of Korean-American businessmen in the United States, Chairman Hwang also plans to support the market entry of Korean small and medium-sized enterprises into the U.S.

"The Small and Medium Business Administration is providing great support in preparing for WKBC. Korean-American businessmen in the United States will also do their best to assist Korean small and medium-sized enterprises in entering the U.S. market together with the Small and Medium Business Corporation."