Gunsan – Windsor City: Towards Practical Exchanges with the Economic Cooperation

December 17, 2022 | GUNSAN City has joined hands with its sister city, Windsor of Canada, to jointly respond to the rapidly changing global economy and industries in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic period. The delegation of Windsor (Mayor Drew Dilkens) visited Gunsan on December 17, 2022, and had a tour of major factories at the Saemangeum Industrial Complex and met government and corporate officials for three days.

Windsor is a city with a population of about 230,000 and known as an automotive capital of Canada. Ever since the establishment of sister-city relationship with Gunsan in 2005, two cities have continued exchanges in diverse fields such as sending public officials and carrying out cultural exchanges. The visit was symbolic as it indicated a resumption of face-to-face meeting between the cities after the four-year pandemic. At this time, the visit was not only for city diplomacy but also for practical economic exchanges such as visits to companies that Windsor is interested in and meetings with public and corporate officials. *Windsor will be home to the first electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing operation (900,000 m²) in Canada. A Korean company invests USD 3.9 billion in the EV battery plant and it will begin operation in 2024.

Representatives from Windsor included Mayor Drew Dilkens, who entered his third term as Mayor of Windsor in October 2022, Communication Advisor of Windsor, President C. Stephen MacKenzie and Vice President Joe Goncalves of Invest WindsorEssex. As key figures in the city’s economic policy making, they intensively discussed on economic and industrial exchanges with Gunsan, raising expectations from the local community.

Windsor has previously developed the internal combustion engine car industry in the vicinity of Detroit, the USA, and is now preparing to leap again as the centre of the EV battery industry with investment by Korean companies such as LG Energy Solution to build Canada’s first Lithium-ion EV battery plant. EV, secondary batteries, and renewable energy-related companies are actively moving into the Saemangeum Industrial Complex in Gunsan, and they need to explore overseas export channels such as the Americas and Europe. Therefore, synergistic effects such as export support are expected if economic cooperation measures between the two cities take a concrete form in the future.

Mayor Kang of Gunsan City said, “As 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Republic of Korea and Canada, mutual trade investment between the two countries is expected to increase further. If we prepare for economic exchanges in advance, we will be able to make tangible progress. Since the pandemic is now coming to an end, let’s create a turning point for practical exchanges so that corporate investment in the EV industry that both cities are focusing on can produce results.”

Mayor Dilkens of Windsor said, “I am surprised to see Gunsan Industrial Complex’s rapid changes made in just four years. An electric battery plant of 900,000 m² is under construction in Windsor, while the foundation of the RE100 industry ecosystem including EV clusters, secondary battery companies and battery recycling plants is being built in Gunsan. As the industrial structures of the two cities are similar, we will continue to work together to enhance active investment between companies.”