Ministers Le Maire and Paik Ungyu
29 November 2017

Enhanced economic cooperation between France and South Korea

Several Government members joined Paik Ungyu, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea, in chairing the "France-Korea" economic dialogue and opening the Franco-Korean Forum on Industrial Innovation on 28 November 2017, at Bercy. This was an opportunity to applaud and further strengthen the two country's economic ties – not least in the R&D, automotive, chemical and agri-food sectors.
Since the statement of intent signed on 3 June 2016 between the two Ministries of Economy, the economic partnership between France and Korea has aimed at encouraging innovative startups and businesses in both countries and at laying the groundwork for stepping up trade flows and investments.
Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, alongside Delphine Gény-Stephann, Minister of State, attached to the Minister of Economy and Finance, thus outlined the large-scale economic reforms the Government has set in motion to further boost France's appeal and attract more Korean investment to the country.
The next subject on the agenda was the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and Korea. Signed on 16 September 2010, this agreement has since enabled a €660m increase in French exports to date. Our bilateral trade balance has thus progressed from a €86m trade deficit to a trade surplus of €617m, thanks in particular to the rise in exports in the automotive, chemical and agri-food sectors. 
The Ministers reported on the industrial projects underway between the two countries and praised the myriad success stories arising out of this cooperation: projects funded by Bpi France and its Korean counterpart KIAT, as well as French Tech Seoul.

The Franco-Korean Forum on Industrial Innovation

More than 150 participants, French and Korean innovative businesses alike, gathered for the 4th edition of the Franco-Korean Forum on Industrial Innovation, which highlighted the close cooperation between the two countries. 2017 was a successful year with five joint R&D ventures led by businesses and research centres from both countries in such sectors of tomorrow and cutting-edge technologies as:
  • autonomous vehicles
  • digital health
  • virtual and augmented reality
  • artificial intelligence
  • embedded systems 
Two statements of intent between French and Korean businesses at the vanguard of innovation have also been signed: Amotech and Sigfox in the Internet of Things sector; Wayties, Ilmile and Faar Industry in the automotive sector.
The next edition of the Forum is scheduled to be organised in Korea in 2018.