Industrial Bank of Korea celebrated the opening of its London branch yesterday evening, at an event attended by the ambassador. Set out below is the ambassador’s speech.
It is a great pleasure to be here with you all this evening.
Firstly I would like to congratulate the Industrial Bank of Korea on opening its branch in London, one of the world’s greatest financial centres.
I would also like to thank President Kang for the invitation to this opening ceremony and kind hospitality.
Under his strong leadership and support as Chairman and CEO of the IBK I am sure that the London branch will be very successful.
The opening of IBK’s London Branch not only signifies the ever-closer relationship between the financial communities of the UK and Korea, but also the efforts of Korean banks to develop their world-wide network and is pivotal in furthering globalisation.
The UK is home to nearly 40,000 Koreans — the largest Korean community in Western Europe.
I hope that IBK’s London branch will enjoy close relations with the fast growing Korean community in the UK, of which the President Mr Soek is present here this evening.
I also hope that it will contribute to the financial markets in the City of London.
The dynamism of the City of London and of the UK economy has attracted substantial Korean investment.
The UK is our second largest investment destination in Europe and is the third largest European investor in Korea.
This year alone, bilateral trade exceeded 8 billion dollars and the UK is our second largest trading partner in Europe.
These trade and investment relations have enriched and brought considerable benefits to both of our economies.
Korea hopes to strengthen its partnership with the UK even further in the future. Our two countries share the belief in free market and confidence in the power of trade and commerce to improve lives. I am keen to see more Korean corporations and banks with a presence in the UK in order to foster greater UK-Korean trade and investment.
I would like to thank everyone for their support, in particular the FSA, and, of course, Mr Kang Ho chang, the London Branch Manager, and his staff. Without their support and hard work today’s opening of the IBK branch would not have been possible.
I wish IBK’s London Branch every success as we move towards an exciting new phase in UK-Korean economic relations.