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Russia–Republic of Korea

September 07, 2017, 16:50 UTC+3
1 pages in this article

Key conclusions

The potential for trade and economic relations between Russia and Korea is not being used to its full capacity

“Today, the Republic of Korea is Russia's ninth trading partner in the world and its third strategic partner in Asia after China and Japan. More than a third of our trade turnover takes place in the Far East. However, it is known that the potential of our trade and economic relations has yet to be fully realized,” said Mikhail Bondarenko, Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Korea.

Security concerns are an important part of the Russian-Korean order of business

“Aside from economic issues, our countries are also faced with issues pertaining to security cooperation,” said Yongmaan Park, Chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

Creating a committee in the Republic of Korea for trade with northern countries is a new step in relations with Russia

“Moon Jae-in, who was elected president in May, has announced a new policy on relations with northern countries and has formed a committee for trade with northern countries in order to aid the implementation of mutually profitable economic and industrial projects,” said Paik Ungyu, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea.

Russia is interested in the active presence of Korean business in the Far East

“It must be said that the presence of South Korean companies is very much welcomed in Russia <...> I hope that there will be this kind of presence in the Far East, too,” said Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).


Low trade turnover and a decline in Korea's investment interests in Russia

“Even though the Republic of Korea did not support sanctions, trade turnover has dropped much more than for those countries that introduced them,” Alexander Shokhin indicated.

“Discussion about investing in the Far East is something that has been going on for quite some time.  So far, unfortunately, these negotiations have yet to be concluded with the results that we had all been hoping for,” said Kim Im-Kweon, Chairman and President of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives.

Bureaucratic barriers to business hinder trade and economic interaction

“There are, of course, bureaucratic barriers. Mr. Putin, as far as we know, knows about them. And the Eastern Economic Forum was set up specifically to eliminate these difficulties,” said Young-gil Song, Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation.


Attracting and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises

“How much they will be involved in our joint projects will depend on the number of connections and the amount of our foreign trade activity <...> This is a task for chambers of commerce and industry,” said Sergey Katyrin, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

Creating, supporting, and developing interregional connections

“When connections such as mutual exchange of delegations, exhibition events, and presentations of regions are established, then business contracts can be made quickly and will be able to link not only large companies, but small and medium-sized ones as well,” Sergey Katyrin pointed out.

A joint approach for solving international problems including North Korea's nuclear weapons

“Aside from issues of economic cooperation, we also hope that Russia will play an active role in solving the nuclear threat in the north,” Paik Ungyu said.

“North Korea's nuclear problem needs to be fixed through dialogue and cooperation. We cannot have a war on the Korean Peninsula. This is our understanding, as well as that of our president, Moon Jae-in.  Our presidents agree on this,” Young-gil Song indicated.

Expanding bilateral cooperation and the search for new areas of growth

“We also hope for an exchange of shipbuilding technology and experience. We hope to enhance cooperation in shipbuilding with the participation of the Hyundai Shipyard,” Paik Ungyu said.

“Increasing cooperation will improve infrastructure.  In particular, in order to improve infrastructure we quickly need to sign an agreement about free trade,” Paik Ungyu stressed.

“Creating an innovative cluster in the Far East will promote cooperation in advanced industries,” said Hyun Jung Taik, President of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP).

Extending cooperation by integrating Russian resources and Korean technology

“There is a shortage of refrigerated storage in the Far East.  This leads to a significant delay in the development of fishing and fish processing.  It also is reflected in the final cost.  When an adequate number of warehouse facilities are opened, fish products will be able to be sold much quicker and at normal prices,” said Ill Tai Suh, President of Korea Trading & Industries Co Ltd.

Creating new institutes for trade and economic cooperation

“I think that there is a need to study the possibility of creating a committee for trade with northern countries.  We would be able to engage in trade, including that pertaining to IT-technology <...> And it is necessary for a center to support specific projects to be created,” Hyun Jung Taik said.

Integrating efforts around the development of transportation infrastructure in the region

“The Busan port suggests creating multilateral cooperation. This would establish connections with three eastern regions of China <...> Next is connecting the Northern Sea Route to the Trans-Siberian Railway <...> Now we are able to ship cargo along the Northern Sea Route to Vladivostok and then transport it to Europe,” said Ye-jong Woo, President of the Busan Port Authority.

“Russia has the largest icebreaker fleet in the world.  And in the case of strategic cooperation, we hope for some privileges,” said Sangsik Lee, Senior Vice President of Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd.

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