1. The 6th meeting of the Republic of Korea-Portuguese Republic Joint Economic Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “Joint Economic Commission”) was held on June 16 in Seoul with Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs Lee Seong-ho of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (“ROK”) and Secretary of State for Internationalization Eurico Brilhante Dias of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Portuguese Republic (“Portugal”) as the respective heads of delegation.
¡ As this year marks the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the ROK and Portugal, Secretary Dias visited Korea in order to attend the Joint Economic Commission meeting, the first in-person meeting of its kind hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since the outbreak of COVID-19.
¡ The two sides engaged in an in-depth discussion on topics ranging from economic policies for post-COVID-19 recovery and economic cooperation in areas including maritime transportation, renewable energy, science and technology, and infrastructure, to policy tools for expanding regional cooperation and multilateralism.
※ The ROK-Portugal Joint Economic Commission was established pursuant to the bilateral “Agreement on Economic, Industrial and Technical Cooperation” concluded in 1984. The previous meeting was held in Lisbon, Portugal in 2018.
※ The ROK-Portugal trade volume reached 1.07 billion USD in 2020 after growing steadily from previous years (670 million USD in 2016, 730 million USD in 2017, 900 million USD in 2018, and 790 million USD in 2019).
- The ROK’s main export items to Portugal include ships, semiconductors, synthetic resins and passenger vehicles, while the ROK mainly imports knitwear, tires, passenger vehicles and car audios from Portugal.
2. The two sides acknowledged the robustness of the bilateral trade and investment despite the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed to exert efforts in order for the two governments to drive the quantitative and qualitative growth of economic cooperation to the next level by fully capitalizing on current efforts to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
¡ Considering the ROK and Portugal’s numerous similarities and their complementary relationship in particular, the two sides reaffirmed the great potential for a further increase in mutual trade and investment. Portugal requested that more Korean companies enter the Portuguese market, as the country has one of the most open systems among the EU member states as well as ideal climate and logistic conditions.
3. The two sides exchanged strategic visions* for addressing the COVID-19 crisis and agreed to cooperate in creating a momentum for growth in the fields of digital matters, ICT, and science and technology during this important period of transition.
* The ROK government’s “Korean New Deal” and the Portuguese government’s “Strategic Vision for the 2020-2030 Economic and Social Recovery Plan”
4. In particular, the two countries recognized the potential for cooperation in renewable energy areas such as solar power and electric vehicles, and Portugal requested Korean companies’ participation in Portugal’s infrastructure projects including the terminal construction at the Port of Sines.
¡ In regards to maritime cooperation, the ROK requested Portugal’s participation and interest in the Digital@Sea Initiative, while Portugal asked Korea to take part in the UN Ocean Conference to be held in Lisbon in 2022.
5. While the Portuguese side explained the major activities that it had carried out during its presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in the first half of this year, the ROK shared its regional initiatives including the New Southern Policy. Both sides agreed to cooperate in the promotion of the ROK-EU connectivity, global response to climate change, and the restoration of the multilateral trade system in the future.
6. Furthermore, the two sides took note of the growing mutual interest between the peoples of the two countries and agreed to actively provide support towards revitalizing people-to-people exchanges once the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.
※ Korean visits to Portugal: In 2019, approximately 200,000 Koreans visited Portugal, their 8th most popular destination among the 27 EU member states.