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IDB, Republic of Korea to promote trade and investment programs between regions

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Republic of Korea today announced an agreement to promote cooperation in trade and investment programs between Korean and Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) companies.

The commitment was made in the context of the KOREA-LAC Trade and Investment Forum 2007 being held today and tomorrow in Seoul to promote stronger business links between the two regions. More than 300 business people from both shores of the Pacific and officials from export and investment promotion agencies of 16 LAC countries attended the event. Speakers included Alberto Aleman, administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, and Dae Yung Ahn, executive vice president of Samsung Engineering, a leading global player in high-tech engineering.

This forum offered businesspeople from LAC and Korea the opportunity to arrange one-on-one meetings with potential partners, investors and customers. Latin American and Caribbean companies from participating countries took advantage of the trade and investment forum to showcase their products, services and expertise.

“The partnership between Korea and Latin America that we celebrate and seek to further today has never been stronger,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno during his opening remarks. “Commerce between both regions has been expanding at a rate of nearly 25 percent per year in the last five years and today totals nearly $30 billion dollars.”

“By bringing together under one roof Latin American businesspeople and their Korean counterparts, and by showcasing such important investment projects as the expansion of the Panama Canal, this forum aims to boost our economic relationship further,” added Moreno.

In highlighting the rapid growth rate of the Asian economy and the abundance of natural resources in LAC, the Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economy, O-kyu Kwon, characterized today’s forum as having “unlimited business potential.”

“Given the current economic landscape of the two regions, I see the potential for enormous synergy effect when we engage in closer cooperation,” said Kwon. “Latin America could see Korea as a stepping stone to enter the giant Asian market.”

The agreement announced by the IDB and the Republic of Korea includes the following:

  • Bilateral executive training program to promote the training of executives, entrepreneurs and young professionals from both Korea and LAC in terms of cross-cultural business communications, as well as enhancing their knowledge of the local economy, values and traditions.
  • LAC promotion agencies network to create a regional network of LAC export and investment promotion agencies in order to develop and implement innovative and effective cooperation agreements. This program may include a specific initiative between KOTRA and agencies in LAC to enable the sharing of best practices and know-how in trade and investment promotion.
  • A program in which the IDB and Republic of Korea will continue funding technology innovation projects in the LAC region, primarily through the Knowledge Partnership Korean Fund for Technology and Innovation. This fund promotes project preparation and implementation in the area of technology and scientific innovation and supports the development of technological capacity, institutional strengthening, competitiveness and the adoption of new production technologies in LAC countries. 
  • Asia-LAC business fora to enhance business matching, contact development and, ultimately, trade and investment deals between both regions. Utilizing its performance in this forum, the Government of the Republic of Korea will actively participate contributing to inclusive regional integration between Asia and LAC.

Korea recently signed a free trade agreement with Chile and has announced its interest in similar accords with other Latin American countries.

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