KOTRA, JETRO in Cooperative Mode
Joint display brings parts makers from Korea and Japan together to exchange products and share technology
The Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) sponsored the trade exhibition organized jointly by the Korea Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) and aimed at expanding the trade of parts between the two neighboring countries on April 16-17 at Kintex in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, MKE officials said.
The joint event between KOTRA and JETRO is likely to expand cooperation in trade relations between the two countries in the future as it was part of the agreement reached during the April 2008 summit declaring a new companionship between Korea and Japan and a realistic cooperative step to build the new relationship, the officials said.
During the two-day event, 59 Japanese firms, including 36 firms interested in buying Korean parts, participated and talked with more than 270 Korean parts makers holding some 600 separate sales negotiations. The officials said initially that only 30 Japanese firms wanted to come to the event, but the steep depreciation of the Korean currency versus the Japanese yen at the end of last year expanded the number of Japanese firms that came to the exhibition. The exhibition stood out from others in that Japanese buyers displayed their goods to show what kinds of products made in Korea they wanted to buy, the officials said.
Mitsubishi Electric, in particular, dispatched all of the parts purchase officers at its seven plants to Korea to buy parts for refrigerators, air conditioners, electric rail cars, elevators and power generator equipment ¡ª altogether 120 different parts.
In the meantime, Vice Minister Kim Young-hak attended an MOU signing ceremony between the Korea Development Bank and CSK of Japan to cooperate with each other to set up a "Korea-Japan Parts and Materials Fund" on April 27 at Hotel Otani in Tokyo. The two banks will share equally in contributing to the fund to be launched in the second half of this year. The exact amount of the fund has not been decided, but it will likely amount to $100 million, ministry sources said.
The fund will mainly go to Korean parts makers as investments, but to some Japanese parts makers with operations in Korea. The fund will be set up to boost Japanese investments in the parts industry, the officials said. When Japanese investments in Korea continue to be made, it will create a synergy in the areas of parts production and joint technology development, they said.
The government will not make investments in the projected fund, but has been playing the role of a mediator bringing Korea Development, the Korea Parts and Material Investment Organization Council and CSK Venture Capital in Japan together to create the fund. The MKE said the projected fund would be the first such fund to be set up between financial institutions in Korea and Japan to be exclusively invested in the parts and materials industries, a very significant move in the economic exchange between Korea and Japan.
The MKE said it will continue to work to create a number of other such funds, following the examples set by KDB and CSK Capital.
Vice Minister Kim asked for increased Japanese investments during a roundtable meeting with over 10 Japanese firms, including some financial companies, explaining the investment opportunities and foreign investment regulations.
Kim said the role of Japanese firms is greater than ever to strengthen Korea-Japan cooperative relations and he will spare no effort in building a better relationship between Korea and Japan through investments in the areas of parts and materials. MKE officials have found Japanese investors greatly interested in making investments in Korea due mainly to the advantages of the value of the Japanese yen vis-a-vis the Korean won.
The MKE will waste no time in taking advantage of the situation and dispatch missions consisting of local autonomous organizations and related organizations to tour key Japanese cities including Tokyo and Osaka in May and hold road shows on the formation of exclusive industrial parks in Korea for parts and materials companies. nw
Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Minister of Knowledge Economy Lee Youn-ho, S.R. Cho, chairman of the Korean-Japanese Economic Association, Sakong Il, chairman of the Korea International Trade Association, KOTRA President Cho Hwan-eik, and JETRO President Tadashi Izawa pose for a group photo at a joint parts and materials procurement exhibition between Korea and Japan held in Seoul on April 16.
President Lee Myung-bak takes a look at the items on display at the exhibition.