- Press Releases
ROK-Russia Far East and Siberia Subcommittee Holds its 12th Meeting
1. Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Yoon Soon-gu, together with Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Alexander Krutikov, held the 12th meeting of the Republic of Korea-Russia Far East and Siberia Subcommittee in Moscow on May 16.
o The two sides engaged in extensive discussions on ways to step up cooperation in the health and medical care, energy, and fisheries sectors, and between provincial governments, as well as ways to increase trade and investment, with a focus on the Russian Far East and Siberia.
o They especially agreed on the need to achieve tangible results in the “nine bridges,” the nine sectors of cooperation (gas, railways, seaports, electricity, Arctic shipping routes, shipbuilding, industrial complexes, agriculture and fisheries) proposed by the ROK side at the Eastern Economic Forum in September last year.
※ The ROK-Russia Far East and Siberia Subcommittee is a consultative mechanism on the Far East affiliated with the ROK-Russia joint economic committee, a deputy prime ministerial consultative channel between the two countries (The deputy prime ministers of the two countries signed an agreement on its creation in February 2001 / The Subcommittee held its first meeting in March 2002).
- The Subcommittee seeks to increase substantial cooperation, including trade and investment, in the Far East and Siberia, and to expand exchanges and cooperation between provincial governments.
※ participating agencies from the two sides
- ROK: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation, the ROK Embassy in Russia, the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, and the Export-Import Bank of Korea
- Russia: the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Energy, Russian Railways, the Far East Investment and Export Agency, and the Russian Academy of Sciences
2. Deputy Minister Yoon said that the Far East and Siberia provide new horizons for cooperation between the ROK and Russia, and that amid the changing situation on the Korean Peninsula, expectations about cooperation in the regions are growing.
o Deputy Minister Yoon said that to make sure such interest leads to actual investment, the governments need to take necessary measures, including simplifying administrative procedures, offering investment incentives, providing accurate investment information, and supporting risk management.
o Deputy Minister Krutikov said that the Russian side designated some areas in the Far East as Free Ports and Advanced Special Economic Zones, where various incentives, including tax breaks, discount on electricity rates, and low interest rate loans, are offered to companies doing business in the areas.
o The two sides shared the view that a lack of information on the Far East is hindering investment, and agreed to work actively together to devise measures to further increase investment and trade, including facilitating the Korean Investors Support Center, which opened in Vladivostok in November last year, and publishing a guidebook to investing in the Far East.
3. In the healthcare sector, the two sides agreed to work together to establish an ICT-based remote medical service system; help Korean medical organizations enter the market in the Far East; and increase exchanges between health care providers.
o In the energy sector, the two sides agreed to pursue joint research to connect the two countries’ power grids in order to implement the Northeast Asian super grid initiative, proposed by the ROK at the Eastern Economic Forum in September last year.
o In the transport and logistics sector, the two sides agreed to continue to closely consult to come up with concrete measures to facilitate the use of the Trans-Siberian Railway by resolving difficulties faced by Korean companies using the TSR.
o The Russian side also asked for support to expand Korean companies’ investment in the areas of seaports, agriculture and fisheries, forestry, and building materials in the Far East. The ROK side said that it will conduct feasibility studies, and review support that can be provided by its government, including financial support.
4. The two sides also shared the view that as a result of the inter-Korean summit (April 27), a favorable environment for trilateral cooperation among the ROK, North Korea and Russia is being created. As the leaders of the ROK and Russia agreed on the need to resume trilateral cooperation projects among the ROK, North Korea, and Russia in their phone conversation (April 29), the two sides agreed to continue to look into various measures for cooperation, including joint research in the areas of railways, electricity, and gas by relevant agencies of the ROK and Russia.
5. The 12th meeting of the Subcommittee served as an opportunity to discuss concrete measures to strengthen cooperation in the development of the Far East, which the two countries agreed to pursue in the ROK-Russia summit, held on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in September last year.
o The measures discussed in the meeting will be further specified in the meeting of the ROK-Russia Joint Committee on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation to be held in Seoul soon.
* unofficial translation