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Prospects rosy for Korea, France to boost further economic ties Updated: 2016-06-03 06:19:21 KST

Korea and France have been active at promoting exchanges in various fields, from culture and business to healthcare and energy.
The two countries signed a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation back in 1886 -- marking the start of their diplomatic relations.
But despite their long history, bilateral trade has been at a relative standstill in recent years.
While total trade has been up four percent annually over the past ten years, Korean exports to France have fallen an average of two percent every year during the same period.

"Korea's main export items to France, such as ships and mobile phones, dropped due to slump in the European economy. But on the brighter side, growth seems to be picking up."

As for investment, Korea invested over 2 billion U.S. dollars in France as of last year, while Paris has invested 7.3 billion.
Over the past five years, Seoul has stepped up investment in manufacturing, and Paris, in the service sectors.

"More and more companies are contacting our services, because they are interested in investing in Korea, or interested in selling their products and services to the country. Before it was mostly in general centered in capital cities, but people are looking beyond capital cities. There's more cooperation between other cities, like Incheon and Daegu."

Down the line, the general consensus is that prospects are bright and many see room for further development and synergy in increased fields.

"We are in an extremely positive momentum of bilateral relations. France has always been promoting a partner oriented approach in Korea. We are willing to develop some new sectors, for example, in the auto industry with the intelligent car, new technologies, e-health, nanoelectronics, and so on."

Experts say Korea should actively make use of its free trade agreement with the EU.
The deal puts the country at an advantage over global rivals like Japan and China, which have yet to ink trade deals with the European bloc.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
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