I wish you all a very Happy New Year.
While 2020 proved to be a difficult year for all of us around the world, we start 2021 with hope, optimism and solidarity. As a unity of 27 European Member States, we are working internally and externally to tackle global challenges such as the pandemic crisis, rolling out vaccination across the EU and providing medical relief beyond borders.
In 2021, the EU will continue to promote a recovery leveraged by the climate and digital transitions, taking a leading role in climate action and digital transformation. We will strengthen Europe’s autonomy whilst remaining open to the world.
As the EU Ambassador to Korea, I can assure you that the EU, more than ever, looks forward to reinforcing our cooperation with the RoK, a truly strategic and like-minded partner of the EU. The EU-RoK Strategic Partnershipwill continue to play a vital role in moving relations forward to the benefit of all.
We will push forward the green recovery agenda and fight against climate change together, in pursuit of our shared goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
In 2021 we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the entry into force of the EU-Korea FTA. Indeed, the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the first Free Trade Agreement signed by the EU with any Asian partner, entered into force on the 1st of July 2011. This landmark agreement significantly boosted bilateral trade in both directions, notably by removing import tariffs on industrial and agricultural goods. Today, the EU and Korea trade close to 100 billion EUR worth of goods annually. Beyond tariff elimination, the agreement offers more opportunities for services suppliers, removes cumbersome and expensive testing and certification procedures for trade of electronics, automobiles, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, provides better protection of intellectual property rights, ensures stronger competition rules and enforces a commitment to sustainable development.
The EU and the RoK will also seek to jointly address security challenges and tackle issues such as cyberattacks and piracy. The EU stands with the RoK in building lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, where we can bring our experience in conflict prevention and crisis management around the world.
I cannot stress enough that global challenges do not respect national boundaries. And this is why we believe in multilateral approaches, despite widespread protectionism and the rise of nationalism. In 2021, the EU and the RoK will and should persist with addressing issues that determine our future. We hope you will join us in this meaningful journey ahead.
Thank you for visiting our website, and for your continued interests in the EU-RoK relations.
Maria CASTILLO-FERNANDEZ, EU Ambassador to Korea
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