- Press Releases
1st Joint Economic Committee Meeting of ROK and Baltic States (1+3) Takes Place
1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs created a vice ministerial-level Joint Economic Committee with the three Baltic states (the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, and the Republic of Lithuania), which are emerging as a hub connecting Northern Europe, Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation. The 1st meeting of the Joint Economic Committee was held at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul on April 26.
o The 1st Joint Economic Committee Meeting was attended by about 20 government officials from relevant ministries of the four countries. The delegations of the four countries were led by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Lee Taeho, Deputy Foreign Minister for Trade of Estonia Andres Rundu, Under-Secretary of State, Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Janis Mazeiks, and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Darius Skusevicius, respectively.
2. The Joint Economic Committee was created as part of efforts to follow up on the separate summits held between the ROK and the three Baltic states on the occasion of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. The Republic of Korea and the three Baltic States signed the “Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Joint Economic Committee between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania” in the 1st Joint Economic Committee Meeting. It served as an opportunity for the ROK to expand its diplomatic horizons to the Baltic Sea region.
3. In the Meeting, the ROK and the three Baltic states discussed ways to increase mutual benefits in a range of areas, including expansion of trade and investment; cooperation in ICT, science and technology, support for startups, and other industrial sectors; cooperation in transportation, tourism and education; and cooperation in exporting and importing agrifood.
o The four countries took note that the trade volume between the ROK and the three Baltic states has been steadily increasing on the basis of the ROK-EU FTA, and agreed to continue to closely work together to see continued growth in trade and investment, considering the size of the three Baltic states’ economies and their growth rate.
o In addition, the head delegates of the four countries shared the view that there are many similarities between the ROK and the three Baltic states, which have become a digital powerhouse in Europe based on excellent human resources despite their limited land and resources. In a bid to pursue common interests, they agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation in the digital sectors, including ICT, R&D, and bioengineering.
4. With Estonia, which adopted the e-voting and e-residency systems for the first time in the world, the ROK discussed ways to expand digital cooperation, including establishing a cooperation platform to support startups and innovative companies in the ICT field on the basis of the two countries’ digital infrastructure and technological capabilities.
o With Latvia, where the Riga Office of the ROK Embassy was upgraded to an Embassy in March this year, and with which the ROK will operate direct charter flights between Incheon and Riga in May and June, the ROK took note of the continued growth of bilateral diplomatic relations, and agreed to explore pathways to strengthen cooperation in various areas such as ICT and R&D.
o With Lithuania, which is focusing on fostering the science and technology and R&D sectors, the ROK discussed how to advance their political and economic partnerships, including establishing a channel for cooperation in the blockchain and bioengineering sectors.
5. The three Baltic states said that cooperation in exporting and importing agrifood was also among major issues of interest for them.
6. After the Joint Economic Committee Meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a “Welcome Dinner to celebrate the establishment of the Joint Economic Committee between the ROK and the three Baltic states,” along with the Korea Importers Association and the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The dinner provided various networking opportunities to the delegates and businesspersons from each country.
7. As a follow-up to the 1st Joint Economic Committee Meeting, the ROK government will endeavor to establish intergovernmental consultation channels in each area with the three Baltic states. The four countries will host Joint Economic Committee meetings in turn every two years.
* unofficial translation