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S. Korea sends economic delegation to Austria, Croatia for World Expo bid

By Yonhap

Published : Feb. 16, 2023 - 10:43

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This photo shows Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun (on the left) posing for a photo with Austria's labor and economic minister, Martin Kocher, after signing a memorandum of understanding on industry and trade cooperation in the European country on Thursday. (S.Korea's Industry Ministry) This photo shows Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun (on the left) posing for a photo with Austria's labor and economic minister, Martin Kocher, after signing a memorandum of understanding on industry and trade cooperation in the European country on Thursday. (S.Korea's Industry Ministry)

South Korea sent an economic delegation involving Samsung Electronics Co., LG Energy Solution Ltd. and other major companies to Austria and Croatia for talks on ways to enhance economic and investment ties, and to drum up support for Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo, the industry ministry said Thursday.

The delegation, led by Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun, began a three-day visit to the two European nations Wednesday as part of South Korea's plan to send a delegation to 13 European nations to garner support for its bid to bring the Expo to the southeastern port city of Busan, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

South Korea is competing with Italy, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia, and the winner will be chosen by 170 member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) during a general assembly scheduled for November. Europe has the largest number of BIE members, according to the ministry.

The delegation involves Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Co., SK E&S Co., LG Energy Solution, the Korea Automobile Association, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency and other state-run firms, which the European nations are interested in for stronger business relationships, the ministry said.

On Wednesday, Ahn, as a special presidential envoy, met with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and discussed ways to boost bilateral economic cooperation, noting that Austria's envisioned support for the bid is expected to further strengthen their ties.

The two nations also signed two memorandums of understanding on trade and investment cooperation, according to the ministry.

Bilateral trade hit an all-time high of $3.59 billion last year, government data showed.

In Croatia, Ahn plans to meet the European country's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and ministers on economic affairs Thursday for talks on how to develop bilateral ties, as well as promoting South Korea's capabilities and willingness to successfully host the 2030 event, the ministry said.

Some 40 government and corporate officials will also hold a business roundtable Thursday to explore the possibility of cooperation in the automobile, energy and other sectors, it added.

South Korea is seeking to host the expo in order to share its unique growth experience and develop international cooperation to overcome various challenges facing the world together. (Yonhap)