French province visits its Korean counterpart

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French province visits its Korean counterpart

A dozen delegates from a French province visited Daegu, North Gyeongsang, to bolster its 13-year-old ties with the southern province in the high-end technology and tourism sectors.

“Alsace and North Gyeongsang have some things in common as provinces,” Andre Reichardt, first vice-president of the Alsace Regional Council, told the Korea JoongAng Daily on Feb. 23 at a reception held in the French Embassy in central Seoul.

“They have a similar number of people, about 2.5 million in North Gyeongsang and 2 million in Alsace, and they have both strong local industries that have developed over the past decades.

“However, since 2000, when globalization started, Alsace has suffered some economic problems, such as the rising prices of raw materials that couldn’t compete with products from Eastern Europe,” he said. “So we have started to focus on developing biotechnology, or solar energy.”

Son Se-ju, an official at North Gyeongsang Provincial Government, also said, “Last year, the trading between Korea and France dramatically increased, thanks to the Korea-EU free trade agreement, and Alsace and North Gyeongsang will also boost its bilateral relations in this vein.”

Lee In-sun, a senior official at the North Gyeongsang Provincial Government, added, “In France, there’s a proverb saying ‘old wine and friends improve with age.’ Just like the saying, Korea and France has developed friendship in various sectors for a long time. We expect the relationship between Alsace and North Gyeongsang will boost further cooperation and business in the upcoming future.”

By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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