French chamber fetes thriving ties with Korea

French chamber fetes thriving ties with Korea

Marking the 130th anniversary of bilateral ties and 30th anniversary of founding, the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a gala on Dec. 10 in Seoul that spotlighted its feats and future.

The event at Grand Hyatt Seoul attracted some 800 guests related to France commercially and diplomatically. The theme of the event was “Impressive Normandy,” referring to the northern region in France with a rich history and culture as well as a vibrant and creative economy.

“These two anniversaries remind us of our deep friendship that connects our countries,” said David-Pierre Jalicon, the chamber’s chairman, in a speech. “We are the ones building this affection and trust. It is our responsibility to strengthen our friendship on multiple levels, be it political, economic or cultural.”

The fest also featured Korean singer Ga-in and French celebrity Corson, who performed live on stage.

The winner of a raffle at the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s year-end gala poses at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Dec. 10 beside French media personality Ida Daussy (second from right) and French model and actor Fabien Yoon (right). (The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
David-Pierre Jalicon, chairman of the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

Founded in 1986, the chamber has served the interests of French enterprises and Korean companies related to France. It has organized various networking events, investment seminars and trade missions throughout the year, coming to represent some 350 enterprises today.

The institution hosted 426 consulting venues this year, helping 53 French companies adapt to the Korean market and 11 Korean firms to the French economy. Thirteen business centers were inaugurated in Korea and three commercial expeditions and 11 government missions were held during the same period.

Noting that Korea — the fourth-largest trade surplus economy for France — is always in flux, Jalicon stressed that the chamber has made concerted efforts to anticipate market trends and create new business opportunities.

Underscoring the growing importance of small and medium-sized enterprises and startups here, he added that his organization, which previously dealt with large public corporations and construction firms, has increasingly come to the service of smaller entrants.

The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry gala 2016 “Impressive Normandy” at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Dec. 10 (The French  Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry gala 2016 “Impressive Normandy” at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Dec. 10 (The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

In an effort to support French SMEs, the chamber opened its business center in 2012, and is currently aiding 13 such business in settling in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

In October, the organization held the France-Korea Forum in Paris to discuss potentials for cooperation in the creative economy, alongside the French Tech initiative for nurturing startups throughout the year.

“Our ties have leaped forward through various exchanges this year,” French Ambassador to Korea Fabien Penone said in a speech, adding that political dialogues have been bolstered by presidential, ministerial and parliamentary visits.

Mentioning French President Francois Hollande’s state visit to Korea in November last year, the envoy said municipal ties have also been shored up between Paris and Seoul, Ile-de-France and Gyeonggi Province, Lille and Daegu and Marseille and Busan.

“Not only political dialogue, but all areas have benefited comprehensively from our cooperation,” he said. “Through this year’s celebration centered on creativity and innovation, France’s diverse assets have been introduced, encompassing culture and the arts, economy, education and research, sports, gastronomy and tourism.”

The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry gala 2016 “Impressive Normandy” at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Dec. 10 (The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry gala 2016 “Impressive Normandy” at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Dec. 10 (The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

Celebrating 130 years of bilateral relations, over 250 events were held over the last 16 months in both countries. Another hallmark event was the Bastille Day celebration on Seoul’s Floating Islands in mid-July, with more than 700 people participating.

The chamber publishes the quarterly Coree Affairs magazine, which highlights business opportunities and market trends in Korea.

Next year’s priority will be creating the web platform www.franceinkorea21.com within the first half of the year. The website will have an interactive map that displays all French companies operating in Korea, including their locations and activities; infographics on dynamic sectors with statistics and visual contents; and a video of French economic history and assets in Korea, available in both English and Korean.

According to Herve Morin, president of the Normandy region, Normandy — the name of which comes from Norsemen Vikings that plundered northern France for 150 years from the late eighth century — boasts a rich heritage of tourism assets, including Mont-Saint-Michel, artist Claude Monet’s house and garden in Giverny, the cliff on Etretat and the beach on the Cabourg.

The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry gala 2016 “Impressive Normandy” at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Dec. 10 (The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
Korean singer Ga-in at the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry gala 2016 “Impressive Normandy” at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Dec. 10 (The French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

The region’s major industries are agri-food, automotive manufacturing, aerospace development, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, renewable energy, horse racing, logistics, shipbuilding, digital communications and water sports. As France’s second-largest export region, Normandy has world-class industrial and handmade goods, digital infrastructure and an oceans economy, according to Morin.

In particular, seven innovation clusters at Moveo, Tes, Hippolia, Valorial, Novalog, Mer and Cosmetic Valley — comprising companies, educational institutions and research organizations — produce innovative products and solutions covering the automotive, digital security, horse racing, agri-food, logistics and cosmetics sectors.

Normandy plays an important role in the low-carbon green energy. Three offshore wind power plants are planned for operation in the near future, and the region has strong potential for oceanic hydropower.

Source: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20161219000201

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