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EU awards recognizes efforts to build bridges

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea awards were set up to recognize the role of European companies and government authorities by not only rewarding companies for their dealings, but also by building bridges.

Recently the EUCCK held its annual EU-Korea Awards on the occasion of European Union Industrial Cooperation Day.

Since they were first held in 2006 to honor EU companies and government authorities, the awards have grown in stature and reputation.

That same year, South Korea was designated a priority free trade agreement partner in the EU’s Global Europe trade policy.

After eight rounds of talks and three years, the agreement was officially signed on Oct. 6.
German Ambassador Hans-Ulrich Seidt (center) hands the Leading Investor award to Merck Korea President Juergen Koenig. (EUCCK)
German Ambassador Hans-Ulrich Seidt (center) hands the Leading Investor award to Merck Korea President Juergen Koenig. (EUCCK)

Europe and Korea have always had a strong business relationship.

In order to show their appreciation to the government authorities who have cooperated with EU foreign investors, the Chamber has instituted four awards.

The Globalized Partner award went to the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries while the Efficient Partner Award went to Kim Chul-min, senior director of the Cultural Industry Policy Division of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; Park Jin-seon, director of the International Exchange and Cooperation Division at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; and Hoyoung Maeng, director of Mental Health Policy at the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The Responsible Partner award went to Hahn Myung-kwan, deputy minister for Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Justice and the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone Authority took home the Local Partner award.

As much as the EU has been Korea’s largest source of foreign direct investment, European companies here have also been active in giving back to society and, in turn, helped build and strengthen relations.

In response to their contribution, the EUCCK established four special awards.

The Leading Investor award went to Merck. The global pharmaceutical and chemical company inaugurated a new Advanced Technology Center in May to support the Korean display industry with an investment of $14.5 million.

Boehringer Ingelheim Korea took home the Social Benefactor award for its social contributions and demonstrating a long-term plan of social responsibility.

This year’s Green Pioneer award was given to Schneider Electric for their efforts in being a technology leader in the field.

The EUCCK lauded the efforts of Gavin’s Sausages in overcoming various difficulties to establish a viable business in Korea and awarded it the SME Star award.

By Yoav Cerralbo (