TALLINN - Visiting South Korea with a business delegation of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Estonian Minister of Regional Affairs Madis Kallas said that South Korea is an interesting market, where Estonian products can be found in the future.
"South Korea is an example for Estonia with its technological development," Kallas said. "However, we're here to also showcase our country's success stories. South Korea is definitely an interesting market where our products can be found in the future."
Kallas was on a visit to South Korea from Wednesday to Friday, accompanied by an eight-strong business delegation from the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, according to a spokespeople for the umbrella organization.
South Korea is one of Estonia's priority destinations. 2020 saw the opening of an Estonian embassy in South Korea, and from 2023, the world's first Estonian business center has also been established at the embassy, with the aim of assisting Estonian entrepreneurs looking for Korean partners and vice versa, and promoting Estonia as a promising destination for tourism and investment. In addition, the business center's premises can be used to organize events, video presentations, and exhibitions introducing Estonian products.
During the visit, the minister met with Hyun-Young Shin, a representative of the National Assembly and chair of the Estonia-Korea friendship group, and Byung Hoon So, chair of the agriculture, food, rural affairs, maritime and fisheries committee. The discussions focused on the development of bilateral trade relations between Estonia and South Korea and food security during crises.
A high-level reception introducing Estonian food culture was also held during the visit, attended by over a hundred representatives from the South Korean food sector, business circles, public sector, and media. The menu for the reception was prepared by Estonian Chef of the Year 2022 Helena Vallimae and Ivan Derizemlja, Estonian Chef of the Year 2021 and this year's Bocuse d'Or candidate. In his opening speech, Estonian Ambassador Sten Schwede expressed his pleasure that diplomatic relations between the two countries have strengthened, as evidenced by the first ministerial visit to Korea since the opening of the embassy.
Jaanus Murakas, a member of the business delegation and chairman of the management board of dairy products producer E-piim, said that the visit confirmed that Korea is a rapidly developing and modern market for Estonian food producers, where consumers expect new exciting products from a clean environment.
"It is also very welcome that Estonia now has an embassy in Korea, which companies can use for conducting business meetings. Estonian companies need to expand to other Asian markets to find new business opportunities in case of various political crises."
"The Korean market's curiosity about new products provides an opportunity for innovative Estonian food producers. The market and interest are significant," Katre Kovask from Yook Productions said.
"During the visit, Estonia was described as a country with a strong organic economy, and now it is time to actualize that," Siiri Lehtmets, CEO of Organic Estonia, said.
The Seoul Food and Hotel fair is taking place simultaneously in Seoul, where seven Estonian food and beverage producers -- Saku Brewery, City Cider, Coffee People, Astelpaju Eksport, Eesti Pelmeenitoostus, Balsnack, and Chocolala -- are exhibiting for the first time on a joint stand of Enterprise Estonia.