Ambasciatore Mercuri Picture

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Korea and it is indeed a date to celebrate. In fact, in these 10 years the ITCCK has shown a steady growth; it has attracted a growing number of members, and it is now a well-established reality, firmly positioned in the Korean economic scene.

Both the Italian and Korean business communities are also showing progress more activly in doing and promoting business. Let me mention the important joint venture of Versalis with Lotte Chemical, but also the Week of Italian Cuisine, held in November 2017, which successfully promoted Italian foods and wines and hosted the first ITCCK gala dinner.

Considering the bigger picture, Korea was able, during the year 2017, to recover from the slowdown of the previous year. Its growth has stabilized over 3% and its imports have significantly increased (+18%) in comparison to 2016. In 2017 the trade between Italy and Korea has reached 9.45 billion US Dollars, recording an increase of 10% compared to the previous year. South Korea represents the 4th destination market in Asia for Italian goods. In terms of exports, Italy is the fifth European provider to Seoul.

Taking into account the composition of Italian exports to Korea (5.69 billion US Dollars), the outlook is even better: footwear grew 33%, as well as vehicles (+ 32%), leather goods (+ 22.8% ), cosmetics (+ 16.8%) and machinery (+ 8.7%). Exports of agri-food products remained stable in 2017, while the performance of the luxury segment (fashion, design, furniture, leather, etc.…) showed excellent results, reaching more than 40% of our exports to Korea. Beside the trade and commerce, I would like to point out that many Italian companies are joining forces with Korean ones, to enter into the third markets. Their contribution to the cooperation between our two Countries does not show in bilateral statistics, but is nevertheless substantial.

The figures above prove that there are good opportunities for doing business with Italy and Korea and that the ITCCK is a major actor in promoting the “Italian System”, by attracting new members – especially Korean companies- interested in what Italy has to offer in terms of trade, business and culture.

I am very grateful to the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Korea, its President, the Board, and the whole staff, for the outstanding work they have done and I do wish they will continue on the same path in the future.

Marco della Seta