Korean President Park Geun-hye and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to double mutual trade and investment to US$20 billion and US$45 billion each within the next seven years. Trade and investment volumes between Seoul and London amounted to US$11.26 billion and US$22.8 billion last year.
The two leaders also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the areas of finance, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and IT, and to work closely together to develop future growth engines.
At the summit meeting in Downing Street in London on November 6, the two leaders agreed to form a Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) and a bilateral CEO forum to implement such goals above. Under the agreement, the countries will hold a JETCO meeting every 18 months, along with a joint forum for top business leaders from both countries.
During President Park’s state visit to the UK, the two governments and businesses in both countries signed a whopping 18 memoranda of understandings detailing exchanges in those fields.
In the finance sector a total of 11 MOUs were signed, including the one calling for cooperation between financial regulators for sharing information and experiences, which is expected to help Korea learn from Britain’s advanced financial oversight system.
In particular, Korea’s Export-Import Bank and Britain’s UK Export Finance agreed to jointly provide up to US$1 billion of project financing for the next three years. Two more similar deals were signed, worth US$2 billion combined. Consequently, the money involved in the project financing deals amounts to US$3 billion.
The two sides also signed seven MOUs in the nuclear and renewable energy sectors. In particular, the deal on comprehensive nuclear power cooperation between the two countries is seen as a first step toward exporting atomic power plants to Great Britain. In addition, the two sides signed an MOU on cooperation in nuclear power plant dismantlement, which would help Seoul learn from British technology. The UK plans to dismantle 15 of its 16 aging power-generating nuclear reactors by 2023, and plans to build 10 new ones by 2025.
Another discussion of the summit was about cooperation to develop new engines for future growth. President Park stressed, “We could further expand our economic horizons if we combine our strengths and enter third country markets together,” saying Korea is strong in manufacturing, auto, steel, shipbuilding, and semiconductors, while Britain is on the cutting edge in the basic sciences, finance, cultural content, design, and the services sector.
To pursue new engines for future growth during her presidency, President Park has highlighted the Creative Economy, which calls for converging information and communications technology with culture and other realms to create novel industries and more jobs.