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FKI and France’s MEDEF Renew Bilateral Business Dialogue

  • Author: America & Europe Cooperation Team
  • Date: 2024-05-24
  • Views: 230

Korea-France Business Dialogue for our Future launched for cooperation in new industries

•  FKI and MEDEF held joint meeting for first time in 8 years and relaunched economic cooperation council as dialogue centered on cooperation in future industries

•  Representatives of French companies such as Air Liquide, Airbus and Arianespace visited Korea and participated in the dialogue

•  Discussed future and new industries including aerospace, low-carbon manufacturing, energy and mobility

•  Businesspeople from both countries gathered together and adopted a joint statement

•  Next year’s dialogue to be held in Paris

  Korean and French business leaders gathered to discuss cooperation between the two countries' business communities, focusing on future and new industries, and agreed to hold the dialogue annually. 

  The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), in collaboration with Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF), held the first meeting of the Korea-France Business Dialogue for our Future on Thursday, May 23, at the FKI Tower Conference Center in Yeouido. With the launch of the Korea-France Business Dialogue for our Future, the two organizations decided to reopen existing channels of cooperation and prepare a new blueprint for economic cooperation between the two countries. 

From culture to the economy, aerospace to energy, strengthening cooperation across the board

  In his opening remarks, FKI Chairman Jin Roy Ryu, chairman of the Korea-France Business Dialogue for our Future, emphasized that Korea and France have been longtime friends and are optimal partners who have stood by each other through difficult times for nearly 140 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1886, and presented three visions for the future of bilateral relations: tailored cooperation in future new industries such as aerospace, new materials, and energy; expanded exchange of startups as a growth engine for innovation; and cultural content exchange and cooperation combining culture and industry. 

  "Last year, bilateral trade between Korea and France reached a record high of $13.6 billion, exceeding $10 billion for the third consecutive year, and cooperation has recently been expanding to high-tech and future industries such as aerospace, low-carbon, and semiconductors," said Inkyo Cheong, Minister for Trade. "I think that the Korea-France Business Dialogue for our Future being launched today, will play a major role in building a solid partnership between companies from both countries." 

  At the MOU signing ceremony, FKI and MEDEF signed an MOU to re-establish cooperation between the two organizations. The two organizations agreed to reorganize the council, which lasted from 1991 to 2016, into the Future Dialogue, which focuses on cooperation in future industries, and to hold regular meetings once a year. The agenda of the first meeting included presenting future and new industries such as aerospace, low-carbon manufacturing/energy, and clean mobility, introducing promising startups to discover young entrepreneurs from both countries and exchanging cultural industries.

From reducing carbon in aviation to preparing for the New Space Era, collaboration between Korea and basic science and aerospace powerhouse France is key

  The event covered a wide range of topics, from the latest key issues in aviation to the space industry. With the EU's 2025 mandate to use sustainable aviation fuels, the event discussed cooperation between leading European and Korean airlines such as Airbus, Korean Air, and KAI, which are intensifying their efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the aviation sector. In particular, there are high expectations for cooperation between France, which is developing low-carbon aircraft with the goal of completion by 2030, and Korea, which is accelerating the localization of carbon materials for aviation.

  In addition, the space industry, which has recently been attracting attention as a key growth engine in the New Space era, where private companies are playing a leading role in space development, was also discussed. Overseas organizations such as Morgan Stanley expect the aerospace market to double in size by 2030 compared to 2020 1 France has been a leading country in aerospace since the early 1960s, with the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) as its center of excellence, supporting leading companies such as Arianespace and Airbus, and Korea has been rapidly stepping into the aerospace field, including the recent success of the third launch of the Korean launch vehicle “Nuri” and the launch of the Korea AeroSpace Administration, attracting great interest from French entrepreneurs.

 1 Global space industry size - 2020: USD 385 billion → 2030: USD 590 billion → 2040: USD 1.1 trillion

  "As competition in the aerospace sector is intensifying globally, with major industrialized nations finalizing plans for space exploration, cooperation between Korea and France, a traditional base, is necessary," said Dr. Sang Ryool Lee, president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, who participated in the session. "Korean Air has established close cooperation 2  with French aerospace companies such as Airbus, and we hope to continue to collaborate with French companies in the field of welding automation for the development of large aircraft modules." 

 2 Korean Air is working with French companies such as Airbus, Hexcel, and Isoject on the 'Wing of Tomorrow' project, a joint development project for next-generation composite wing structures.

Discussed solutions to move towards a carbon-neutral society: 

(1) low carbon manufacturing (2) clean energy (3) sustainable mobility

  Carbon neutrality is emerging as the trend of the times as the international community's efforts to respond to climate change are expanding. To respond to carbon neutrality, Korean and French companies participating in the event shared the progress they are making in each field, from traditional manufacturing industries such as petrochemicals and steel to renewable energy such as hydrogen energy and discussed ways to cooperate to achieve carbon neutrality.

  "Energy technology and environmental technology go hand in hand," said Sang Hyup Lee, president of the National Institute of Green Technology. "It is time for both countries to think about developing environmentally friendly energy while reducing carbon dioxide emissions." France's Orano emphasized the importance of nuclear power in the era of energy transition and said it would strengthen cooperation with Korean companies in the field. 

  In particular, France's Air Liquide, a leading company in the commercialization of liquefied hydrogen, a key field in building a global supply chain for hydrogen, and Hyundai Motors, a global leader in hydrogen vehicles, explored ways to cooperate in the field of clean mobility. The Clean Road Mobility session discussed hydrogen as a way to reduce carbon emissions from road transportation, which accounts for 16% of global carbon emissions. 

  "Hydrogen will play an important role as essential energy in the global trend toward carbon neutrality in mobility, which is rapidly changing from conventional internal combustion engines to electric power," said Youngmo Goo, research director of the Korea Automotive Research Institute, while Hyundai and Air Liquide agreed that "hydrogen mobility will lead a new energy revolution for mankind," and that it is important to expand the production and distribution supply chain to build a hydrogen ecosystem.

Bilateral startup session focuses on the next generation of entrepreneurs

  After a session on collaboration in key future industries, a startup session on fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs was also held. Three promising startups each from France and Korea were given the opportunity to present their work and exchange views on the present and future of young entrepreneurs. 

Joint statement mentioning next year’s meeting in Paris adopted

  Finally, business leaders from both countries adopted a joint statement on cooperation for the future. The joint statement expressed common recognition of the newly launched Future Dialogue, promised cooperation between the two countries in future industries, and joint cooperation in the international arena, and agreed to hold the next meeting in Paris next year. 

  "Korea and France are important partners who share universal values," said Bong-man Kim, Vice President of the International Network Department at FKI, "and with the restoration of the business dialogue, we will continue to work together for a shared prosperous future."


1. Overview of Korea-France Business Dialogue for our Future

2. Opening Remarks and Closing Remarks