Celebration in Seoul of EFTA’s 50th anniversary

Published 13-05-2010
To mark EFTA’s 50th anniversary, the Swiss and Norwegian Embassies, in cooperation with the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, organised a symposium in Seoul on 12 May 2010.

Participants from governments, the business sector and the media assessed current and prospective cooperation under the EFTA-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which entered into force in September 2006. Speakers included Korea’s Deputy Minister for Trade Ahn Ho-young and State Secretary Jean-Daniel Gerber of Switzerland. They notably underlined the good functioning of the FTA and the importance of maintaining a close trade partnership. The audience also attended a presentation by EFTA Deputy Secretary General Didier Chambovey on EFTA’s past achievements and forthcoming challenges

Panelists from the private sector highlighted the positive effects of the FTA on investment and trade flows. They also mentioned some areas in which trade relations could be further developed.

Korea is one of EFTA’s most important free trade partners. Over the past few years, total bilateral trade has almost doubled, increasing from USD 3 billion in 2005 to USD 5.7 billion in 2009. Trade in services and foreign direct investment between the parties are also substantial.

Picture: Symposium panellists, keynote speakers and participants (from left to right): Dr Byoung-Joo Kim, Chief Executive Partner Kim Lee&Partners; Mr Hans Petter Naess, Director of Japan and Korea Norwegian Seafood; Mr Thomas Kupfer, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of Korea; Mr Didier Chambovey, EFTA Deputy Secretary-General; State Secretary Jean-Daniel Gerber, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Switzerland; Mr Peter Jager, CEO of Novartis Korea; Mr Ahn Ho-young, Deputy Minister for Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea; Ambassador Brian McDonald, Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Korea; Mr Didrik Tonseth, Ambassador of Norway to the Republic of Korea; Ms Kristin A. Arnadottir, Ambassador of Iceland to the Republic of Korea; Mr Lee Yun-young, Deputy Director-General for FTA Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea; Mr Hae-hyeong Cho, Chairman & CEO of Nara Holdings Corporation; and Mr Henrique Borges, Ambassador of Portugal in Seoul.