A strategic partnership that will grow stronger in the post-pandemic era
The relationship between Romania and South Korea is strong and dynamic, starting with the first contacts between the two peoples, which began to be discovered even before the formal establishment of diplomatic relations.
With culture and sport generally being the best ambassadors, the establishment of the Romanian language department by the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in 1987 and Romania’s participation in the Seoul Olympics in 1988 paved the way for the establishment. diplomatic relations in 1990 and what has become in 2008, and remains until today Romania’s only strategic partnership with an Asian country.
Before the pandemic, we witnessed with satisfaction a constant dynamic of political dialogue between Romania and the Republic of Korea. In 2018, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea paid an official visit to Romania, which represented a new impetus and added value for the further development of the existing ties between the parliaments of the two countries. The ninth round of consultations between the Romanian and South Korean foreign ministries at director general level, held in Seoul in October, paved the way for the official visit to the Republic of Korea by Foreign Minister of Romania, accompanied by the Minister of the Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship. The wide range of topics discussed in official discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, as well as with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, has been a true expression of the substantial and high-level political dialogue that exists. between the two countries.
When talking about history, it should be noted that the Romanian and Korean nations share many similarities. Like Korea, Romania has had to pay the price for the geopolitical rivalry of the great powers.
Recalling the recent history of Romania allows Romanians to understand in a deep and very particular way the feelings of the Korean nation and its dream of peaceful unification.
This is why, among other reasons, Romania has always been a strong supporter of the cause of the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the leading role of His Excellency Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, in the ongoing diplomatic process of reconciliation and peacebuilding.
Last year Romania and the Republic of Korea celebrated 30 years of diplomatic relations. This significant reference in bilateral relations was also underlined in the congratulatory letters exchanged between the two presidents.
President Moon Jae-in spoke of strengthening two-way cooperation in areas such as politics, economy, education and culture. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis spoke about Korea’s priority in Romania’s foreign policy and the importance of bilateral cooperation on the international stage.
Despite this, with high-level contacts taking place at this pace, bilateral exchanges have not lived up to expectations. In the area of investment too, there is much progress to be desired. Romania’s attractiveness was equal to the European average before COVID-19, which triggered a sharp drop in foreign direct investment but not a complete reduction. According to foreign investors, Romania’s growth potential lies in key sectors such as agriculture, IT, transport and automotive. In this vein, Romania should focus on financing its highest priorities – education, technological transformation, infrastructure – and on mobilizing resources in growing business sectors. In addition, he must be prepared for any opportunity that may arise.
On the other hand, Romania was placed in the top 15 European countries that attract the most foreign investment, while the perception of foreign investors of Romania’s attractiveness before the pandemic was equal to the European average: 27% of investors surveyed planned to establish or expand. operations in Romania before COVID-19.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an inevitable impact on FDI across the world, with 46% of investors canceling, suspending or reducing their investment plans for Romania. The rapid reactions that the pandemic has revealed to pressing issues – such as safety and security measures, digital transformation, education and skills development, and infrastructure, among others – will determine how the attractiveness of Romania’s FDI will evolve after the pandemic.
Needless to say, Romania has a young, well-trained and well-educated workforce in which English is widely spoken, as well as abundant natural resources, geographic advantages, and one of the largest markets in the country. European Union.
These attributes make Romania an increasingly attractive destination for foreign investment. Romania is the ninth EU member in terms of area, with 38,931 square kilometers of land, and the seventh in terms of population. With a population of 20 million, Romania is the second largest consumer market in Central and Eastern Europe and this market is growing, increasing opportunities, while barriers to entry remain low. In this context, it should be mentioned that the attractive location allows easy access to the former countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, Romania is at the junction of three European transport corridors: Nos 4,7 and 9.
We hope that such advantages will persuade more Korean companies to be more active and present in Romania. We therefore take this opportunity to encourage business associations and companies seeking new unconquered lands to explore to become more involved in the development of our economic, trade and investment relations.
In light of this, Romania is a tourist destination for many people around the world. The richness of Romania’s tourist environment extends beyond its value as a summer travel destination. In recent years, many specialized tourism niches have flourished in Romania, such as religious tourism, wellness tourism, hiking tourism and wine tourism.
When it comes to culture, Korean products have long been popular among Romanians, and on this basis, Romania can become not only another vacation destination for Koreans, but a great place to discover cooperation opportunities in various fields. The first that comes to mind is the cosmetics industry. In this area, Romania has an advantage and it is enough to mention the well-known success story of the Gerovital formula, also known as GH 3, which was discovered by Professor Ana Aslan, who dedicated her life looking for the process of aging and anti-aging. remedies for aging. In 1980, she invented a new product called Aslavital, used for prophylactic treatments for cerebral and cardiovascular aging processes, physical and mental asthenia or memory loss. Famous people who used Aslan’s Gerovital treatments included Mao Zedong, Charles de Gaulle, Salvador Dali, Sir Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Konrad Adenauer and John F. Kennedy, to name a few. only a few.
Considering that Koreans regard beauty and skin care as an essential part of their daily life, Romania is worth exploring in terms of cosmetics and makeup brands offering innovative and futuristic products in the global market. If that’s not a good reason to come to Romania, then we don’t know what it is!
In short, Romania is a country worth exploring and investing in, and the similarities between the two countries may facilitate the rejuvenation of our strategic partnership.
Costin-Adrian Ionescu is charge d’affaires ai at the Romanian Embassy in Seoul. He contributed to this column for The Korea Herald. – Ed.
By Korea Herald ([email protected])