Lee exhorts German businesses to invest

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Lee exhorts German businesses to invest


Danish Queen Margrethe II escorts President Lee Myung-bak upon Lee’s arrival in Copenhagen, yesterday. Lee later attended a state dinner hosted by the queen. Lee is on a three-nation European tour. [YONHAP]

President Lee Myung-bak Tuesday urged major German companies to expand their investments in Korea, stressing that his country’s free-trade network will help European firms’ business in other foreign markets.

In a roundtable discussion with business leaders in Frankfurt, the financial hub of Germany, Lee said he was optimistic that the Korea-EU free trade agreement will further improve trade and investment between the two countries.

“The Korea-EU FTA will take effect in two months, and the German government has been very cooperative in this deal,” Lee said. “I am very proud that Korea was chosen as the first FTA partner of the EU. It is an opportunity for Korea and EU members to grow together.”

Noting that Germany will be a key partner for Korea in the Korea-EU FTA era, Lee said trade between the two countries will double in only a few years.

“For German companies, investing in Korea will create a bridge to a broader market,” Lee said. “I hope German businessmen understand that investing in Korea will not only open up ways to enter the Asian market, but also to the United States.”

Seoul and Washington have concluded a free trade agreement and the deal is currently waiting for ratification by the two countries’ legislatures.

Senior executives of major German companies including Siemens, Volkswagen, BASF, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank Bank attended the discussion.

Promoting trade and investment relationships with Korea is a key point of Lee’s three-nation European tour, which is taking place shortly before the FTA with EU takes effect in July. Lee’s signature green-growth campaign is another agenda item for his trip.

During his meeting with German business leaders, Lee urged greater cooperation between the countries in green-growth industries.

Lee was scheduled to arrive in Denmark yesterday and attend an opening ceremony at a branch office of the Global Green Growth Institute in Copenhagen.

The institute was started by Lee in 2009 after he gave the keynote address at a climate summit in Copenhagen. The headquarters of the global institute was opened in June 2010, and the Copenhagen office is its first branch office.

According to the Blue House, the Global Green Growth Institute has become an important international organ after only year. Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Germany and Australia have all contributed to the institute.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
李대통령, 獨기업 경영인들에 한국투자 당부
독일 방문 사흘째를 맞은 이명박 대통령은 10일 오후 (현지시간) 세계적 금융도시인 프랑크푸르트에서 독일 주요기업의 경영인들과 간담회를 가졌다.

독일상공회의소 주최로 열린 이날 간담회에는 지멘스 미하엘 쥐스 이사, 보쉬 헤르만 캐스 한국지사장, 폴크스바겐 아르민 켈러 이사, 베링거 인겔하임 파울 발로우 스튜어트 이사, 바스프 볼프강 니더마르크 부사장 등 한국에 많이 투자한 독일 기업의 임원 19명이 참석했다.

이 대통령은 이 자리에서 "아시아 국가 중 최초로 EU(유럽연합)와 FTA(자유무역협정)를 체결한 한국을 전략적 거점으로 활용해 중국, 아세안(ASEAN:동남아국가연합), 인도 등에 진출하면 유리할 것"이라며 "부품소재, 녹색산업 분야에서 한국에 대한 투자 확대에 앞장서달라"고 당부했다.

독일 기업 임원들은 양국간 경제협력이 2009년 세계경제위기로 일시 부진했으나 작년부터 양국경제의 건실한 성장에 힘입어 교역과 투자가 지속적으로 확대되고 있는 것으로 평가했으며 특히 한ㆍEU FTA를 계기로 양국 교역ㆍ투자가 탄력을 받을 것으로 기대한다고 밝혔다.

이날 간담회에는 최중경 지식경제부 장관, 김성환 외교통상부 장관, 천영우 청와대 외교안보수석, 김대기 경제수석, 홍상표 홍보수석 등이 배석했다.

이 대통령은 간담회 직후 프랑크푸르트 증권거래소를 시찰했다.
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