Memorandum of Understanding is signed with South Korean city of Mokpo

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam has today (Wednesday 15 February) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Korean city of Mokpo.

In a prestigious ceremony with Cho Seong-o, Chairman of Mokpo City Council and Park Hong-ryull, Mayor of Mokpo City, the agreement was signed during a visit by Mr Adam.

The particular focus of the Aberdeen-Mokpo MoU will be on renewable energy and especially offshore wind and wave/tidal, marine engineering, and higher education links over an initial three-year period.

The Lord Provost said: “Aberdeen and Mokpo share many common goals and we look forward to working together for the benefit of all our citizens.

“Aberdeen is an international city with a global outlook and this agreement with Mokpo is great news for the future prosperity of our city as we look to new markets and new opportunities for growth.”

The MoU with Mokpo came after Mr Adam also visited nearby Japan to build on relationships with Kobe, Nagasaki Tokyo, Ngoya, and the Mitsubishi Corporation.

As part of the Japan visit, Mr Adam spent time at the house of Thomas Blake Glover, who came from the north-east originally and became hugely influential in the industrialisation of Japan and building up the Mitsubishi Corporation.

The visits came after Aberdeen City Council’s 2016/2017 International Trade and Investment Plan was approved at committee in January 2016 which stated the international trade priorities by sector (energy); and by market (US, Canada, Norway, Mozambique, Mexico, Japan and the World Energy Cities Partnership) and the capacity of officers to support trade development activities in these areas.

A report published by the City Council in 2014 said South Korea was the world’s 13th largest economy by Gross

Domestic Product (GDP) Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It has a GDP per capita (PPP) of USD 35,277 – three times that of China and almost equal to Japan’s.

Benefits for UK companies exporting to South Korea include:

  • The European Union (EU)-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the only EU FTA in east Asia/Pacific, is estimated to be worth over £500 million to UK business each year; South Korea is a designated high growth market for UK exports, increasing year on year since 2009;
  • Korean public has a taste for British culture and respect for UK goods
  • President Park’s ‘creative economy’ policy is pushing Korean; businesses towards sectors and industries of traditional UK strength
  • Close proximity to the wider Asia-Pacific region and markets

The strengths of the Korean economy include being world leader in electronics, shipbuilding, steel and automotive, ranked first in Bloomberg’s Global Innovation Index 2015, 74% of South Koreans undertake postgraduate-level education with 7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on education, the highest level of broadband penetration in the world with speeds of 100 megabytes, leading the world in 4G mobile usage with plans to invest USD1.7 billion in 5G by 2020, and 15 Free Trade Agreements currently in place and 11 more under negotiation.




Cho Seong-o – Chairman of Mokpo City Council; Park Hong-ryull – Mayor of Mokpo City; George Adam – Lord Provost of Aberdeen; Yasa Ratnayeke – Senior Partnerships, Performance and Funding Officer Aberdeen City Council.

Park Hong-ryull – Mayor of Mokpo City greeting George Adam – Lord Provost of Aberdeen