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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Estonia-South Korea Trade Relations Have Great Potential

28.10.2013

No 331

In a meeting today in Seoul with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Yun Byung-se, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia and South Korea’s economic and trade relations contain many unused opportunities. “The fields of economic cooperation that interest our businesspeople are the logistics- and transport sector and information technology,” he noted. “The agreement on the avoidance of double taxation between Estonia and South Korea, which came into force in 2011, provides additional security for the expansion of economic relations,” stated Paet. He added that the world-class know-how of Estonian and South Korean information technology experts should certainly be used to expand IT cooperation.

Paet highlighted the importance of the 2011 free trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea which has enlivened economic activity and enlarged investments. “This is the first such agreement between the European Union and an Asian country,” said the Estonian foreign minister. “In the first two years, the European Union exports to Korea have grown by nearly a quarter and the EU as a whole was Korea’s second largest trade partner last year.” Paet added that the free trade agreement has offered both sides greatly increased freedom in the trading of goods and services, and, in addition to the regulation of trade, the agreement also supports sustainable development in terms of social and environmental questions as well as cultural cooperation. “The development of economic and trade relations with the Republic of Korea is also important for increasing the competitiveness of the European Union,” stressed Paet.

The foreign ministers also discussed topics associated with internet freedom and e-governance at the meeting. As the current chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, Estonia bases its positions on the idea that a free and secure internet is an effective tool for political, economic, and social development in the 21st century. “We invite South Korea to join the Internet Freedom Coalition. You are also invited to the internet freedom conference taking place in Tallinn on April 28-29 of next year.” The Estonian foreign minister added that the objective of the internet freedom coalition is to unite countries who consider it important to ensure and protect freedom of expression both in the public arena and in cyberspace. “Currently, the coalition is made up of 21 states and our goal is to involve similarly-minded states from all parts of the world,” he stated.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet also invited South Korea to cooperate with the NATO Cyber Defence Centre in Tallinn. “Korean experts are welcome to attend the fifth annual cyber conflict conference taking place in Tallinn next year, which will focus on active cyber defence,” he said.

The foreign ministers also discussed cooperation in the UN and supporting each others’ candidacies at the meeting.

Foreign Minister Paet gave a speech yesterday in Seoul at the international “Seoul Conference on Cyberspace 2013”.

Photos:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/

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