France in brief
·Population: 66.62 million
·Area: 248,600 square miles
·Korean students in France: About 6,500
· French students in Korea: About 1,000
·Korean tourists to France: About 320,000 annually
·French tourists to Korea: About 83,000 annually
130 years of friendship
France and Korea established diplomatic relations under the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation, signed on June 4, 1886. More than 3,200 French volunteers fought during the 1950-53 Korean War. Celebrating the 130th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year, numerous activities have been planned out in both countries. The Year of Korea in France, organized between September 2015 and August 2016, will hopefully give the opportunity to French people to discover Korean culture, whereas the Year of France in Korea, which kicked off in March this year and runs until December, will allow Koreans to experience the creativity of France.
Growth in trade
The trade volume between France and Korea reached $9 billion in 2015, a 50 percent increase from 10 years before. France is the EU’s second-highest exporter to Korea, and French goods range from airplanes and chemicals to machinery and luxury goods. Electronics exports to Korea have especially increased, with progress on technology-intensive products such as high-end measuring and navigation systems. France is one of Korea’s top providers of aircraft (i.e. Airbus), wine, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Imports of Korean goods by France cover Korea’s major export lines, such as electronics and cars.
France’s $4 billion investments in Korea are balanced between manufacturing (car-making like Renault Samsung, chemicals, renewable energy) and services (hospitality, transportation, financial services). There are about 200 French companies in Korea, representing more than 25,000 local jobs. Recently, French investments have focused on innovative and high value-added business sectors such as digital technologies and R&D. Major Korean conglomerates have opened subsidiaries in France, such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai, while investments in cosmetics and food are also on the rise.
Niagale Penone is a political scientist conducting both academic and expertise activities related to peace and security in Africa, particularly in cooperation with the UN and the African Union. She graduated from the Paris Institute of Political Studies with a doctorate degree in political science, specializing in international relations.
Fabien Penone became ambassador to Korea in September 2015. He previously was the deputy diplomatic adviser to the French President of the Republic, Mr. Francois Hollande. He also headed the EU external policy division (2010-12) and the UN political affairs division (2007-10). He previously worked in the French permanent mission to the European Union and in the French Embassy in London. He earned his degrees from the French National School of Administration and the EMLYON Business School, and the Paris Institute of Political Studies.