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Korean, European businesses seek greater cooperation at virtual conference

South Korean and European business experts held an online forum Thursday to discuss ways to jointly respond to challenges in the wake of the pandemic and strengthen cooperation in areas such as future mobilities, secondary batteries and bio-health.

As a follow-up event to the summit between the two regions, the EU-Korea Virtual Business Conference 2020 was jointly hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

The conference aimed to discuss the challenges that businesses face in the rapidly changing global trade and investment environment in the wake of the pandemic and explore how to prepare for the new normal. It was joined by more than 500 industry experts, government officials and academics from both Europe and Korea.

“The novel coronavirus pandemic has greatly disrupted domestic and global supply chains, shrinking production and trade worldwide. With the 10th anniversary of the establishment of a strategic partnership between the European Union and Korea, it is vital to further develop our partnership and turn these challenges into new opportunities together.” Dirk Lukat, ECCK chairperson and CEO of Schenker Korea, said in his welcoming speech.

“In the face of a high-turbulence environment, we must make sure to capitalize on new business opportunities. Cooperation between Korea and EU will become closer and more diverse in the future, as demand for new growth industries such as future mobilities, secondary batteries and bio-health increases,” KCCI Vice Chairman Woo Tae-hee said.

In the first session on the topic of the future of international trade, Eckart Von Klaeden, head of external affairs at Daimler, addressed the growing significance of global value chains and the need for internationally aligned standards for greater efficiency in the global automotive industry.

Kim Sae-hoon, senior vice president of Hyundai Motor Group, stressed the importance of sustainable growth and renewable energy businesses such as the Korean government’s Green New Deal plan in order to revitalize the economy hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a separate session, under the theme of challenges ahead in the new normal, the business leaders focused on the rapid growth and future of global digital health care, such as the untact (non-face-to-face contact) medical system.

“It is unlikely that our daily lives will go back to the way things were before the breakout of COVID-19. This is the new normal,” said Macrogen Senior Vice President Hwang Sang-joon.

He noted that untact health care system that minimizes contact between medical staff and patients, such as telemedicine, will become the new normal in the bio-health care sector.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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