May 10 (UPI) -- U.S. President Donald Trump praised a South Korean conglomerate for investing in the United States in a letter that was read at the opening of a new chemical complex in Lake Charles, La., according to a South Korean press report.
News 1 reported Friday Trump said he applauds Lotte Group, the parent company of Lotte Chemical, a co-investor of a $3.1 billion project with Westlake Chemical in Lake Charles.
The ceremony for the joint venture ethylene and the Lotte Chemical work-scale ethylene glycerol production facility took place on Thursday, when Deputy Assistant Sylvia May Davis read Trump's letter.
In the letter Trump said the $3.1 billion investment is the biggest venture of its kind, involving a foreign firm, since the president assumed office. Trump also said the investment will help creates thousands of new jobs in the southwestern region of Louisiana.
KPLC, an NBC TV station in Lake Charles, reported the plant has created 250 direct jobs in the area and about 2,000 indirect jobs.
Manufacturers in Asia have responded to Trump's call for companies to build more products in the country amid the president's warning he will raise tariffs or renegotiate trade deals.
Trump said the investment is a victory for the United States and South Korea, and a testimony to the strength of their alliance. He added the venture is the biggest among Korean companies investing in chemical plants in the United States.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon was in attendance at the ceremony with Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin on Thursday, according to Yonhap.
Trump has previously praised Lotte Group. During his state visit to South Korea in November, Trump commended the firm for the construction of a 123-story glass tower in Seoul. Lotte is also the company that donated land on a golf course in Korea for the deployment of U.S. THAAD batteries.
That decision had an impact on the company's bottom line, when Chinese consumers began to boycott Lotte Mart, a popular retail chain, that led to the shuttering of several stores.
Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have frequently used the Lotte New York Palace Hotel for quick summits during the United Nations General Assembly.