French Minister of Urban Affairs, Youth and Sport Patrick Kanner, visited Seoul in mid-February to bolster cooperation for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in Korea.
Kanner, who was accompanied by a delegation of French companies -- Poma, GL Events, Compagnie des Alpes, Cluster Montagne, Fusalp -- met Korean athletes and sports institutions in tennis, taekwondo and mountain climbing during a reception at the French Embassy in Seoul on Feb. 19.
France has hosted the Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix in 1924, Grenoble in 1968 and Albertville in 1992. The minister shared his views on alpine sports, sports tourism and leisure business strategies with his Korean partners -- Cho Yang-ho, head of the PyeongChang Olympic Organization and chairman and chief executive officer of Korean Air, as well as Gangwon Province officials and PyeongChang Village governor Shim Jae-guk.
During the venue, Club Sport was inaugurated to give sports-related French companies better visibility in the Korean market by working with the embassy and the French-Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, promote their values, provide networking opportunities and improve communication with the public.
French Minister of Urban Affairs, Youth and Sport Patrick Kanner (fourth from left), poses with French Ambassador to Korea Fabien Penone (right), and Korean sports representatives and athletes, including mountaineer Um Hong-gil (center), Korea Tennis Association president Ju Won-hong (fourth from right), ski coach Yang Sung-chul (left) and taekwondo player Lee Dae-hoon (second from right) at a reception at the embassy on Feb. 19. (French Embassy)
“The economy related to sports has become a major stake today,” said Kanner in a speech. “France has developed expertise in promoting its sports activities and businesses around the world and is well recognized for it internationally.”
The minister, who said it was his job to export French sports expertise, noted that his government had mobilized the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and Business France to help expand businesses globally.
In last April, he said, a cross-body platform called Sport Filiere was launched to publicize French sports globally, enlisting the help of French Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron, Secretary of State for Sports Thierry Braillard and Secretary of State for Trade Mathias Fekl.
One of the organization’s mandates is to identify priority countries and develop and implement investment strategies in these markets, Kanner highlighted.
His visit, part of a two-year celebration marking the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and Korea, follows the state visit to Seoul of French President Francois Hollande in last November.
During Hollande’s visit, an action plan was adopted for deepening dialogue on international and comprehensive issues, diversifying bilateral economic relations, strengthening defense and security cooperation, expanding university partnerships and joint research projects and increasing university student exchange, vocational training collaboration and municipal alliance.
By Joel Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org