EU, ROK leaders agree to strengthen ties

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-11-9 13:27:24

The European Union (EU) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Friday agreed to work together to strengthen bilateral ties in the fields of economy, trade, and innovation.

The agreement was reached by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and President of the ROK Park Geun-hye at the Seventh EU-ROK Summit in Brussels.

"The leaders encouraged their trade officials to continue their discussions..., with a view to bringing the expected benefits to all layers of economic stakeholders on both sides," said a joint statement released after the meeting.

Barroso pointed to the EU-ROK Free Trade Agreement (FTA), now two years old, as a driving force for cooperation between the two sides.

The European Union is now the largest foreign investor in the ROK, Barroso said in a statement after the meeting, adding that the EU's trade in goods with the ROK has significantly increased.

"We must continue to work to expand our economic relationship through the full implementation of the agreement," Barroso added.

EU and ROK leaders also encouraged the "further development of mutual dialogue and cooperation on innovation and the creative economy," according to the joint statement.

They agreed to strengthen joint research and innovation cooperation in order to facilitate joint flagship programs, especially in the areas of nanotechnology, information communication technology and energy.

"The leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of industrial policy in order to, inter alia, enhance industrial competitiveness, entrepreneurship, activities for innovation, and support for SMEs," said the joint statement.

"In this regard, they agreed to establish a high-level industrial policy dialogue to be held on a regular basis," it added.

Barroso also highlighted some "important challenges" that both sides are faced with, including promoting highly skilled employment, fully tapping the potential of the services sector, inverting the demographic decline and low fertility rates.

"We are trying to address these issues through similar and, I believe, complementary concepts, ROK's 'creative economy' and EU's 'smart, sustainable and inclusive growth' strategies," he said.

Posted in: Europe

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