Official visit by the President of the Government of Spain to the Republic of Korea

Pedro Sánchez highlights future collaboration between Spain and Korea in the areas of technology and innovation

President's News - 2022.11.17

Seoul (Republic of Korea)

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, has met with the President of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, with whom he discussed bilateral relations, elevated since last year to the category of Strategic Partners, and the opportunities for expanding economic and trade exchanges between the two countries.

One of the fastest growing sectors in bilateral economic relations is tourism, which has increased in recent years. In fact, Spain welcomed around 630,000 Korean tourists in 2019, making it the third largest source of tourists from Asia to Spain. In this regard, the President of the Government of Spain emphasised the "growing interest on the part of Korean society, which has allowed me to announce the opening of a Turespaña tourism promotion office attached to our embassy in Seoul".

This is Turespaña's third office in the Asia-Pacific region, in addition to those Spain has in Tokyo, Beijing and Canton, and shows the importance Spain attaches to a market that has continued to grow in recent years and is recovering its pre-pandemic figures.

The President also stressed that "both countries could collaborate in their plans to promote the development of renewable energies, particularly in the offshore wind sector, as well as in infrastructure and defence".

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, attends a floral offering in memory of those who have fallen for the Republic of Korea | Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

For Spain, Korea has consolidated its position as the third largest market in Asia thanks to a significant growth in Spanish exports and imports in recent years. In fact, 2021 saw a recovery in trade flows after the pandemic, with Spain exporting €1.936 billion, a figure that is expected to increase in 2022. The accumulated Korean investment in Spain is €1.3633 billion.

Talking about Spain, the President pointed out: "Forecasts indicate that our economy will grow by over 4% in 2022, while the eurozone will grow slightly above 3%; and that, in 2023, Spain will grow more than the average for the advanced economies, the EU and the five largest economies in the eurozone". In this sense, an annual employment growth rate above 3%, as well as temporary contracts below 20%, demonstrate Spain's strengths.

The President also reported that, during the trip, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy held a meeting on industrial technology collaboration. During this meeting, both ministries committed to launching a joint research and development call for proposals, starting in 2023, with €5 million in grants from each country to finance large, high-impact projects in mobility and advanced manufacturing technologies.

The interest in increasing collaboration between the two countries was reflected today with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Diplomatic School of Spain and the Korean National Diplomatic Academy.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, speaks at the Spain-Korea Business Meeting | Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

During his speech, the President stated that Spain is aware of the challenges to stability in the Indo-Pacific. "In this regard, I would like to condemn North Korea's continued ballistic tests, calling for the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and for compliance with Security Council Resolutions", Sánchez stressed.

In this regard, the President emphasised that Spain and the Republic of Korea share a commitment to a rules-based international order and have condemned in the strongest terms Putin government's unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

Spain and Korea: economy, trade, culture and education

The day began today with the participation of the President of the Government of Spain in a Spain-Korea Business Meeting, which addressed the great potential for increasing bilateral economic relations, especially in the sectors of industrial technology, renewable energies, infrastructures and defence, to name but a few.

During his speech, Chief Executive stressed that both countries have opted for technologically advanced sectors, the renewable energy industry and social protection.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, speaks at the Spain-Korea Business Meeting | Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

The meeting was attended by a high-level Spanish business delegation that travelled to Seoul with the President of the Government of Spain. This business meeting is in addition to the President's visit to Samsung's semiconductor manufacturing plant, a key sector for global economic development in which Spain wants to improve its position. This visit to Samsung was followed today by a meeting with the company's CEO.

In the field of cultural and educational relations, Sánchez visited the facilities for the forthcoming Cervantes Institute in Seoul, the opening of which was approved this week by the Council of Ministers, and which in a few months' time, will promote the teaching of Spanish in Korea.

The President of the Government of Spain also took part in the closing ceremony of the 14th edition of the Spain-Korea Forum organised by Casa Asia and the Korea Foundation. As Pedro Sánchez pointed out, this forum "is an excellent example of exchange between Spain's civil society, which this year has also seen the participation of ONCE".

Non official translation