Italy forging business links with South Korea


 ROME -- Over 100 Italian business representatives are making their way to South Korea to form new governmental, banking and business connections in Seoul, Confindustria industrialists' association has confirmed.  South Korea is the first country to allow free trade with the EU and the USA.

 44 companies, eight entrepreneurial associations, and eight bank groups, amongst others to take it up to 100 participants – this is the number of business missions that will land in Seoul for March 9 and 10, with the objective of reinforcing trade cooperation between Italy and South Korea, and forming new partnerships in a market that offers great potential for growth, four years after their entry into the free trade agreement with the EU.

 The mission is being supported by the Italian Ministers of Foreign Trade, International Cooperation, and Economic Growth, and is organised by Confindustria, ICE-Agenzia and ABI, in collaboration with the Embassy in Seoul.  The Italian delegation is being headed by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova, along with Ivan Scalfarotto, the Secretary of State for Constitutional Reform and Parliamentary Relations, Licia Mattioli, President of the Technical Committee for International Affairs and Foreign Investors of Confindustria, Riccardo Maria Monti, President of ICE-Agenzia for foreign promotion and the internationalisation of Italian businesses, and Guido Rosa, the President of the Technical Committee for the internationalisation of ABI.

 The initiative is sector-based and focussed on the sections that offer new collaboration opportunities: automotive, fashion, machine tools, biomedical and biotechnology, epc-engineering, procurement, and construction.

 The meetings will get underway on Wednesday March 9 in Seoul, with the Italy-South Korea Forum, in which principal institutional representatives of the two countries will participate, and will comprise of a session of sector expansion and the opportunity for business meetings between Italian businesses and their local counterparts.  The following day there will be visits to the Hyundai Asan factory, to the Shinsegae department stores in Gangnam as well as to Mall Yeouido, to the SNUBH-Seoul National Bundang Hospital, and to cosmetic distribution points in the areas of Myongdong and Gangnam.

 With a GDP that is on the rise by 3.2 percent in 2016, South Korea is the twelfth best economic model on a global scale, the fourth in Asia (after Japan, China and India), and since 2010 the sixth country for manufactured products.  In fourth place in the International Ranking for “Doing business” and the country in first place for spending in R&S in respect to GDP: four percent, of which 76 percent comes from private parties.

 The political priority is to transform the country into an economic, logistical and financial meeting-point for Northeast Asia.  An objective that the Seoul government are following by attracting foreign investment, so much so that in 2000 they instigated eight free trade zones.  South Korea’s economy is also extremely export-driven – they consider Free Trade Agreements a priority for reinforcing international connections and in the last ten years then have ratified 48 with various countries, and have become the first country to have stipulated an FTA with the USA and with the EU.