Ambassador EeroSuominenof Finland in Seoul hosted a reception at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Dec. 6, 2016 with the attendance of many Korean and international dignitaries as well as ambssdors and other members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.
From the Korean government and other segments of society came many important personalities who included Deputy Minister Lee Tae-ho of Foreign Affairs for Economic Cooperation and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media (3 Enghlish, 2 Korean news media publishing company).
From the Seoul Diplomatic Corps came ambassadors and other senior diplomats who included Ambassadors PeterisValvars of Latvia and Anne Hoeglund of Sweden.
Speaking to the guests Ambassador EeroSuominen emphasized the fact that next Finland will celebrate the first centenerial of independence. Excerpts from the speech follow:
Excerps from the speech of Ambassador EeroSuominen of Finland:
Today is the 99th anniversary of the Independence of Finland. Next year will be an important year,
the 100th anniversary. It will be a year of a number of celebrations in Finland and abroad, also here in Korea. Next year we will have various Finnish concerts, seminars, exhibitions and other events in Korea.
The relations between Finland and the Republic of Korea are excellent. As a new Finnish ambassador to Korea I immediately got to witness that Finland`s country-brand in Korea is extremely positive.
The basis for the positive image is mainly in the Finnish education system and in the Finnish innovation system which are very well known in Korea. The Koreans are also interested in the Nordic lifestyle and the Scandinavian well-fare state, which we share with our Nordic neighbors.
The keen interest between the countries is reflected in the number of visits between Finland and Korea. This year has been a busy year. The Minister of Employment and the Economy visited Korea in May and the Minister of Transport and the Communications in November. The Permanent Secretary of The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests visited Korea in October.
Next week we will have the Under-Secretary of State from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for Economic Consultations. We have had several visits of Finnish trade delegations, for instance food,healthcare and lifestyle delegations.
Korean high-level visits to Finland have been frequent in the recent years, too. There are also several teacher delegations from Korea visiting Finland all year round to learn about the Finnish education system.
Several Korean delegations visited last week Slush, Europe`s leading start-up event organized in Helsinki every year, just to mention a few examples.
In general the trend for the trade between Finland and Korea has been positive, especially after the EU-Korea free trade agreement entered into force in 2011. FTA forms a good basis for the business for the both sides. South Korea is among Finland’s three most important trade partners in Asia.
New sectors of economic co-operation have emerged like food, health, design, fashion and solutions in the field of renewable energy and clean technologies. It is important to note that trade in the service sector has increased substantially.
It is also to remember that tourism in both sides is an area that can be increased considerably. The fastest route to Europe goes via Helsinki. On the other hand touristic interests in Finland for Korea
grows steadily and especially the Pyeongchang Olympic Games in 2018 will certainly bring new friends to Korea in Finland since we are a nation of winter sports, especially ice-hockey.
Both South Korea and Finland live of their exports. Access to markets are important for us. Finland is a strong supporter of free trade. However we can see nowadays in the world strong trends for protectionism. It is a trend that all of us must fight against for all in all free trade is the effective way to help the economies develop and grow.
Finland and Korea are countries who share the same values and in international organizations we are often like-minded. We are countries that have good economic, scientific and cultural relations. I sincerely hope that the positive co-operation between our countries whether it will be economic, political, scientific or cultural will continue as active as it is today and will develop even further.
Since it is already December I would like to take the opportunity in the end of this speech to remind you that Santa is already preparing his reindeers in Finland for the long trip around the world in Christmas Eve.
So remember to be good and kind to each other. I would also like to thank company SMC being already good and kind for providing 130 Moomin character lap blankets for the guests of this reception.