'The main task of the Republic of Korea's delegation is to change our citizens' perceptions of Russia,' announced Li Je Chun, the former South Korean Ambassador to Russia and head of the project Russo-Korean Friendship Express, at a meeting with St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev. 'Many people still think of your country as the Soviet Union'.
Vladimir Yakovlev noted that the main businesses sectors in St. Petersburg which could be attractive to South Korean capital were the military-industrial complex, automobile manufacturing and computer technology. However, the governor added that 'Korean businesses will not come to Petersburg until they are sure that the investment and ethical climate meets their standards'.
The Korean delegation arrived in St. Petersburg today and tomorrow, July 30, the Governor of St. Petersburg is planning to take part in ceremonies remembering Prince Li Bom Jin, the first Korean Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Russia. Commemorative plaques will be unveiled at Ulitsa Pestelya 5 (the building which housed the Prince's residence) and the Northern Cemetery.
According to figures supplied by the Committee for External Relations, trade between St. Petersburg and the Republic of Korea is growing each year. In 2001 it grew by 34%. Since 1999 the foreign trade balance has shifted in St. Petersburg's favour. In 2000, exports almost quadrupled over 1999, and in 2001 they grew by a further 12%, totaling nearly USD 45 million. Imports have trebled to almost USD 15 million. Petersburg companies mainly sell ferrous metals, optical instruments and equipment, automobile manufacturing equipment and printing materials to South Korea. Imports mainly consist of automobiles, optical instruments, electrical equipment and plastics, and over-ground public transport products. The volume of Korean investment in St. Petersburg in 2000 was USD 1.8 million.