Park secures $370 million investment from Europe

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Park secures $370 million investment from Europe

BRUSSELS - President Park Geun-hye attracted a combined $370 million worth of investment from five leading companies in the European Union on Thursday at a summit with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.

Solvay, a Belgian chemical company; BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, from Germany; and Siemens, a German energy solution provider, are among those that plan to set up research and development centers or establish joint ventures in Korea.

“Leading corporations in the EU are expected to contribute to creating additional jobs, transfer technologies and boost corporate competitiveness in Korea through the investment,” President Park said.

The parties involved held a ceremony in Brussels commemorating the deals, which was presided over by Yoon Sang-jick, Korea’s minister of trade, industry and energy.

The state leaders also agreed to double trade volume between the two nations to $20 billion by 2020 and investment size to $45 billion over the same period. During the summit, Park proposed that Korea and Belgium sign a contract to collaborate on cutting-edge science and technology and form a joint committee toward that goal.

The state-run Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology and Eureka, an intergovernmental organization, also forged a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to participate in the Eurostars No. 2 program.

Eurostars No. 2 is the second phase of an international funding program dedicated to supporting research- and development-intensive companies. The initiative will relaunch next year over a six-year period, and Korea is set to invest $35 billion won ($33 million) through 2020 - an annual average of $5 billion won - becoming the first non-European country to join the program.

The MOU is expected to help solidify technological cooperation between Korea’s smaller players and their European counterparts.

President Park flew to Brussels on Thursday after completing a three-day state visit to London. She laid a wreath at the 1950-53 Korean War memorial upon arrival and met with scientists and start-up leaders from both countries. This evening she is scheduled to attend a banquet hosted by Belgium’s King Philippe.



BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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