Lee exhorts German businesses to invest

JoongAng Daily, Korea

Lee exhorts German businesses to invest

12 May 2011

President Lee Myung-bak Tuesday urged major German companies to expand their investments in Korea, stressing that his country’s free-trade network will help European firms’ business in other foreign markets.

In a roundtable discussion with business leaders in Frankfurt, the financial hub of Germany, Lee said he was optimistic that the Korea-EU free trade agreement will further improve trade and investment between the two countries.

“The Korea-EU FTA will take effect in two months, and the German government has been very cooperative in this deal,” Lee said. “I am very proud that Korea was chosen as the first FTA partner of the EU. It is an opportunity for Korea and EU members to grow together.”

Noting that Germany will be a key partner for Korea in the Korea-EU FTA era, Lee said trade between the two countries will double in only a few years.

“For German companies, investing in Korea will create a bridge to a broader market,” Lee said. “I hope German businessmen understand that investing in Korea will not only open up ways to enter the Asian market, but also to the United States.”

Seoul and Washington have concluded a free trade agreement and the deal is currently waiting for ratification by the two countries’ legislatures.

Senior executives of major German companies including Siemens, Volkswagen, BASF, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank Bank attended the discussion.

Promoting trade and investment relationships with Korea is a key point of Lee’s three-nation European tour, which is taking place shortly before the FTA with EU takes effect in July. Lee’s signature green-growth campaign is another agenda item for his trip.

During his meeting with German business leaders, Lee urged greater cooperation between the countries in green-growth industries.

Lee was scheduled to arrive in Denmark yesterday and attend an opening ceremony at a branch office of the Global Green Growth Institute in Copenhagen.

The institute was started by Lee in 2009 after he gave the keynote address at a climate summit in Copenhagen. The headquarters of the global institute was opened in June 2010, and the Copenhagen office is its first branch office.

According to the Blue House, the Global Green Growth Institute has become an important international organ after only year. Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Germany and Australia have all contributed to the institute.

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