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Lord mayor of London visits Korea to bolster commerce

Andrew Parmley, the lord mayor of the City of London, is visiting Korea this week to strengthen bilateral commercial ties and promote Britain as the leading business hub of Europe.

His visit on Tuesday and Wednesday is his second in the last six months, as the UK government strives to shore up economic partnerships around the world ahead of the country’s anticipated exit from the European Union.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has stated that she intends to trigger the process by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March, allowing both sides to negotiate the terms of their split over the next two years. 

Andrew Parmley, lord mayor of the City of London (British Embassy)
Andrew Parmley, lord mayor of the City of London (British Embassy)

Parmley will meet Korean senior business representatives and explore potential areas of cooperation involving trade and investment. He will also meet Yoo Il-ho, Korea’s deputy prime minister and minister of strategy and finance, and members of the Korean Bar Association, among others. During the meetings, Parmley will provide an update on UK’s current business climate and opportunities in education and training, financial technology and information communications technology.

“South Korea is a vital trade and investment partner for the UK,” he said, mentioning that Korea ranked 22nd in terms of British exports of goods and services in 2015. “We should be improving on this. My visit comes at an opportune time to show the government and industries that UK remains open to business.”

Reiterating the “longstanding links” between London and Seoul, Parmley said he is “keen to explore new ways of working together in financial and professional services industries.”

The lord mayor is the head of the City of London authority, an unpaid, apolitical one-year position with exceptionally challenging tasks, according to the British Embassy in Seoul. Having the status of cabinet minister, the lord mayor spends some 90 days abroad promoting the city and country. He or she makes over 800 speeches a year and addresses more than 10,000 people a month.

The bureaucratic position represents London businesses and helps the City Corporation advise the UK government on the needs of the financial services sector. On average, the mayor meets one head of state per month and a prime minister or finance minister once a week to discuss finance-related issues, often accompanied by city business representatives.

By Joel Lee (