1. The 1st meeting of the Republic of Korea-Slovak Republic Joint Economic Committee took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul on November 27, with about 30 delegates from relevant government agencies of the two countries in attendance. The ROK and Slovak delegations were led by Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Yun Kang-hyeon and 1st State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy of Slovakia Vojtech Ferencz, respectively.
2. As Slovakia, located right in the middle of Europe, has an excellent geographical location and a favorable investment climate, the country is the ROK’s key economic cooperation partner, where about 100 Korean companies are doing business.
o In particular, as major Korean companies in the car and home appliances sectors, including Kia Motors and Samsung Electronics, are making investments in Slovakia, the country is being utilized as a bridgehead for building presence in the European market.
o The meeting marks the first Joint Economic Committee meeting held under the agreement on economic cooperation concluded between the governments of the two countries in 2017. The Slovak side demonstrated their big interest in economic cooperation with the ROK by sending a delegation of more than 50 people, including businesspeople.
3. In the meeting, the two sides discussed ways to increase trade and investment, as well as ways to step up mutually-beneficial cooperation in a range of areas, including industrial cooperation; science and technology, and R&D; and infrastructure, transportation, and tourism.
o The two sides took note that since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1993, trade between the two countries had increased more than 160 times, and agreed to work to enhance substantive cooperation by trading a wider range of items, and diversifying areas of economic cooperation.
o The ROK side voiced hope that Korean companies would participate in large-scale infrastructure projects being pursued by the Slovak government, including a project for the construction of a new airport in Bratislava.
o For a smooth connection between the logistics networks of Korean companies in Slovakia, the ROK side asked for the Slovak government’s support to make sure that the D3 highway, which links Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland, is completed as soon as possible.
o The two sides agreed to continue to encourage cooperation in the automobile industry, the central pillar of economic cooperation between the two countries, and also agreed to make further efforts to share policies related to the smartification of the automobile manufacturing industry, including those concerning environmentally-friendly electric cars, and to increase technological cooperation in the area.
o The two sides noted that the first meeting of the joint committee on science and technology held in 2016 led to robust cooperation in the sector, and agreed to hold the second meeting as soon as possible.
o The ROK side asked for the Slovak government’s support and interest to increase the number of Slovak tourists to the ROK.
4. The two sides agreed to hold the next Joint Economic Committee meeting in Slovakia in 2020. The governments of the two sides also agreed to make efforts to step up substantive cooperation between the two countries by reviewing their economic relations and discussing ways to increase cooperation through the Joint Economic Committee.
* unofficial translation