The presence of representatives from German at the recent Seoul International Machine Tool Show (SIMTOS) which took place from 13-18 April underlines the importance of bilateral trade and investment links between the two countries. German representatives were particularly interested in promoting Korean Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Germany, placing emphasis on the advantages of the “Made in Germany” quality brand, its advantages as a high-tech production site, its highly skilled workforce, and the easy market access to the rest of Europe.
Korean companies are already major producers in Germany, particularly for high-tech products. According to the Germany’s Ministry of Trade and Investment, Korean (FDI) in the country amounts to over US$ 5.86 billion, and during 2008 Korea was the second largest Asian investor in Germany after Japan. Though figures for 2009 are expected to show a lower Korean FDI performance as a result of the global crisis, the total number of Korean investment projects in Germany has increased slightly.
On the trade front, Korea is one of the main world destinations for Germany´s machinery and equipment exports, and Germany is Korea’s biggest trade partner within the European Union (EU).
The move to strengthen the existing German-Korean strategic partnership is to be seen in the light of the EU – Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) currently being negotiated. As soon as the FTA is finalized and comes into force, all tariffs will be eliminated for Korean imports of German capital goods and it is estimated that bilateral trade and FDI flows could grow by 40%.