300 Paris Baguette stores to open in US
The nation’s food and beverage giant SPC Group seeks to expand its U.S. business fivefold by 2020.
Its Chairman Hur Young-in unveiled his plans during a meeting, Tuesday, with U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Congressman Ami Bera in Seoul.
The two U.S. politicians were visiting Korea to discuss expanding U.S. trade opportunities and establishing new partnerships in Korea. Royce and Bera are co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Korea.
“We are planning to increase the number of Paris Baguette stores in operation in the United States to 300 by 2020, creating up to 10,000 new jobs,” Hur told Royce during their meeting at the company’s headquarters in Seoul.
Royce was quoted as saying Paris Baguette has contributed to job creation in the U.S. by employing more than 1,500 people and it will play a key role in the global food industry in the future.
SPC established a U.S. west coast affiliate in 2002 and opened America’s first Paris Baguette in Los Angeles three years later. After rapidly expanding its footing in the country, Paris Baguette achieved huge success on the east coast as well, with the number of stores in the U.S. totaling 57.
In 2016, the company invested more than $48 million (53.8 billion won) to report annual sales of $100 million and bring 1,500 new jobs to the country.
“I could not be more thrilled to see these thriving businesses invest resources, and most importantly, bring jobs into the U.S. The impact of CJ Foods and SPC Group on the U.S. economy cannot be denied,” Royce said on his official website.
“As one of the first supporters of KORUS FTA, I’m proud of the positive impact that our economic alliance with these companies is having on the people of Southern California, and I know that success stories like these will continue to grow in local communities throughout the U.S.”
KORUS FTA refers to the free trade agreement between Korea and the U.S., which went into effect in 2012.
However, U.S. President Donald Trump, calling it a “job-killing” pact, requested renegotiation of the bilateral deal. As a result, the two countries have started talks.
However, there is evidence Washington benefited from the five-year-old contract more than Seoul.
For example, the U.S. Department of Commerce said the FTA benefited both countries — while global trade decreased 12 percent since signing the deal, trade between Korea and the U.S. increased 12 percent between 2011 and 2016.
SPC Group Chairman Hur Young-in, right, poses with U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce during their meeting at the Korean firm’s headquarters in Seoul, Tuesday.