The Korea Herald


EU firms pledge $510m investment in Korea

By 최희석

Published : May 10, 2011 - 18:50

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Investment focuses on renewable energy and material industries

Five EU-based companies pledged to invest $510 million in Korea, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy announced Tuesday.

The pledges ― two memoranda of understanding and three notifications of investment ― were made at an event held in Berlin attended by Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Joong-kyung.

The two memoranda of understanding were signed by a parts and materials producer and a firm operating in the field of renewable energy, the ministry said, without disclosing the names of the companies.

The agreement with the parts maker calls for a $25 million investment, while that with the renewable energy concern outlines an investment of $80 million.

Of the three notifications, the Germany-based photovoltaics equipment maker Avancis GmbH is the largest with $353 million slated for investment in Korea. The others are the German industrial pump maker Wilo SE and the auto parts maker Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH that respectively notified the ministry of $30 million and $23 million.

“Securing investment from companies in the renewable energy, and parts and materials industries will help strengthen the country’s industrial competitiveness,” Choi said in a statement.

The development comes at a time when European concerns’ investment in Korea has plunged due to the region’s financial difficulties.

According to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, investments in Korea made by European concerns during the first quarter of the year came in at $434 million, down 48.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

In contrast, Korea saw an overall increase of 30.1 percent in inbound investment over the same period with U.S. investors leading the rise. According to the ministry’s figures, U.S. investment in Korea rose more than 10 fold between the first quarter of this and last year. U.S. investment in Korea during the first quarter of this year came in at $467 million, and the overall figure came in at $2.005 billion.

The ministry added that in order to maximize opportunities afforded by the recently ratified Korea-EU free trade agreement, a delegation will be sent to Europe in June to facilitate investment in Korea.

Along with the investment notifications and memoranda of understanding, the ministry also appointed former German ambassador to Korea Michael Geier as the promotion ambassador for investing in Korea.

The ministry said that Geier was appointed as the promotion ambassador in light of his deep understanding of Korea.

The ministry has been appointing individuals with a keen understanding of Korea as promotion ambassadors since September, including the former British ambassador to Korea, Warwick Morris, to facilitate foreign concerns’ investment in Korea.

By Choi He-suk (