Minister Han with the delegation of the Republic of Korea on enhancing economic cooperation
Matjaž Han, the Minister of Economic Development and Technology, received the delegation of the Republic of Korea led by the Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of Korea, Park Byeong-Seug. The meeting was intended to enhance economic cooperation between the countries and introduce the candidature of the Republic of Korea to organise World Expo 2030 in Busan.
During the discussions, Minister Han highlighted that Slovenia and the Republic of Korea have good long-term bilateral relations that will be further enhanced with the operations of the Slovenian Embassy in Seoul. On this note, the announcement of re-opening the Korean economic representative office (KOTRA) in Ljubljana and the possibility of opening the Korean Embassy in Ljubljana is encouraging.
"According to the scope of trade in goods, the Republic of Korea is on the 28th place of Slovenian foreign trade partners and third among Asian countries, after China and Singapore. In 2021, the value of trade in goods again reached EUR 391 million, which is almost a 49 per cent increase if compared to 2020," the Minister highlighted at the meeting and added, "In the Programme for Investment Promotion and Internationalisation of the Slovenian Economy in the 2021–2026 Period, the Republic of Korea is defined as a market of opportunities."
Special Envoy Park Byeong-Seug emphasised friendly relations between the countries and commended the growth in trade that can be strengthened even further. He sees opportunities in different branches such as logistics, as several Korean companies use the Port of Koper to access Central and South-East Europe, and also in tourism. To enhance economic relations, the Korean chamber of commerce is preparing to pay a visit to Slovenia next year, which will focus on the economy.
Relating to the candidature to host World Expo 2030 in Busan under the theme, 'Transforming Our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future', the Special Envoy highlighted that the Republic of Korea wishes to connect developed and developing countries, whose presentations will also be supported at the exhibition. A significant section of the exhibition will be dedicated to the latest technology, such as artificial intelligence and robotics in order to address topical global issues, i.e. climate change, health and similar global crises.
Minister Han congratulated on the candidature and stressed that Slovenia is regularly attending such exhibitions that are a good opportunity for showcasing countries and their integration. Before making its final decision on the support, Slovenia will examine all candidatures and aspects. Italy, Ukraine and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are also candidates for the World Expo.
In 2021, the value of bilateral trade in goods reached EUR 391.3 million, which is almost a 49 per cent increase if compared to 2020. The value of Slovenian export to Korea was EUR 64.5 million and the value of Slovenian import from Korea amounted to EUR 326.8 million. In the first half of 2022, the value of trade in goods between the countries reached EUR 195.7 million, whereby the value of Slovenian export to Korea was EUR 32.2 million and the value of Slovenian import was EUR 163.4 million. In 2021, the scope of trade in services amounted to EUR 73.9 million, which is an increase of more than 18 per cent if compared to 2020.
Korea’s direct investments amounted to EUR 2.08 million in 2021, which is a 50 per cent decrease if compared to 2020. Slovenia’s direct investments in Korea amounted to EUR 9.7 million and that marks a 17 per cent increase in comparison to previous year.
Some 2,052 arrivals of Korean tourists were recorded in Slovenia in 2021 and 4,451 overnight stays, as Slovenia is fairly unknown among Korean tourists. To this end, the Slovenian Tourist Board is implementing promotional activities in this market for travel organisers, also in cooperation with Croatia.