Slovenian Ministers Fajon and Han visit South Korea to strengthen cooperation

Slovenian Ministers Fajon and Han visit South Korea to strengthen cooperation


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon and Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport Matjaž Han are visiting Korea accompanied by a strong business delegation. They attended the official opening of the Slovenian Embassy in Seoul, held political talks and participated in a number of promotional activities where Slovenia is presenting its business investment environment, economy, tourism and opportunities for foreign investors.

Ministers Fajon and Han attended the opening of one of the most important import exhibitions, “Korea Import Fair”, where Slovenian companies are represented in a joint Slovenian pavilion. After the investment and business conference, where Slovenia showcased its business and economic environment, they officially opened the premises of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Seoul and hosted diplomats, businessmen and other foreign guests on the occasion of Slovenia’s Statehood Day.

Minister Matjaž Han emphasised that the political and business visit was only one of the activities that the Ministry, together with SPIRIT Slovenia, was carrying out to support the internationalisation of the Slovenian economy. “Korea is one of the most competitive economies and the 10th largest economic power in the world. It is Slovenia’s third most important Asian economic partner after China and Singapore. As a small export-oriented economy, we need to diversify our exports outside the EU, to markets where we can exploit our competitive advantages. To this end, we are also working at the national level to open the doors of Slovenian companies to foreign markets,” said Mr Han, adding, “The opening of the Embassy in Seoul and my visit with Foreign Minister Fajon marks the beginning of closer economic and political cooperation and friendship between the two countries. The Embassy’s doors will always be open to businesses from both Slovenia and Korea.”

Minister Tanja Fajonstressed that despite their geographical distance, Slovenia and Korea have much in common. “Both countries share the same values of democracy, peace and security, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Korea is one of the world’s leading countries in terms of economy and innovation, and Slovenia, located in the heart of Europe, is striving to join the leading countries in the European context. We are therefore doing our utmost to create an environment that provides ample business opportunities. Slovenia and Korea also share similar views on the most pressing global challenges. As newly elected non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, both countries will take decisions that will affect the whole world. I am therefore extremely pleased that our priorities are aligned, from climate change, human security and the Women, Peace and Security agenda to water issues. It is also in this light that the joint visit with Minister Han to Korea is a demonstration of our serious intention to strengthen political and economic cooperation with Korea. I believe that we have a good basis for this, and that Slovenia can be a trusted partner for Korea.”

Slovenia and Korea have established good cooperation in transport, logistics and medical device manufacturing. The Port of Koper is one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean and several important Korean companies are already cooperating with it in the logistics chain for the import of Korean goods to Europe. The Automotive Cluster of Slovenia (ACS) is interested in being involved in the supply chain and production of automotive components for Kia and Hyundai. To this end, the President and CEO of Kia, Mr Ho-Sung Song, has already met with ACS representatives in Slovenia in the spring, and thus the first steps for cooperation with Kia Europe have already been taken.

Other priority export sectors are health and medicine, electrical, mechanical and metal industries, information technologies and artificial intelligence, environmental technologies (smart water management solutions, wastewater treatment), wood industry, aerospace technologies, film industry and tourism.

There are many similarities between Slovenia and Korea. Both countries are highly export-oriented and provide an excellent entry point for doing business in the wider region. Korea is listed as a market of opportunity in the Programme of Investment Promotion and Internationalisation of the Slovenian Economy. For Korea, trade with the Port of Koper is of particular importance, as Koper’s position makes it an optimal base for the transport of goods to Central and South-Eastern European countries.

Last year, trade amounted to just over €527 million, of which Slovenia imported €380.1 million, and exported €147 million worth of goods and services. The most common imports are iron and steel, vehicles and parts, mineral fuels and oils, plastics, chemical products, caoutchouc and rubbers. The most exported products are electrical machinery and equipment, optical, measuring and medical instruments and devices, vehicles and parts, machines, and chemical, iron and steel products. In 2021, direct investment from the Republic of Korea in Slovenia amounted to €2.8 million and Slovenian investment in Korea to €9.7 million.

Mr Han met Mr Kim Yoon-tae, Vice President of KOTRA, Mr Kim Jangho, Mayor of the industrialized city of Gumi, and visited the factory of the Slovenian company Kolektor Sinyung Co. Ltd.

Minister Fajon also met with former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with whom she discussed, among other things, the possibilities for cooperation between the two countries within the UN and in other multilateral forums, especially in the light of the recent election of Slovenia and Korea as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

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