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Investing in the Future : One-on-One with Tim Yeo
Tim Yeo, Honorary UK Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea

Invest KOREA talks to Tim Yeo, Honorary Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea, to gain more insight on Korea’s business environment and what Korea can offer for foreign companies.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Tim Yeo worked as an investment analyst in London before moving into fund management and investment banking. He entered politics in 1983 and was a member of the UK Parliament until 2015. From 1988 to 1994, he served as Government Minister in the Foreign Office, Home Office, Department of Health and Department of the Environment before chairing the Environmental Audit Select Committee (2005-2010) and the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee (2010-2015).

Following his extensive career in government, Tim is currently Chairman of ElecLink Limited, Consultant of Powerhouse Energy Group plc, Chairman of the New Nuclear Watch Institute, Honorary Professor at University College, London, as well as Honorary UK Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea.

Invest Korea interviews Tim to learn more about his experience in the public and private sectors and to gain insight on Korea’s business environment and what the country can offer for foreign companies.
Tim Yeo, Honorary UK Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your story and your relationship with Korea

After graduating from Cambridge University, I worked as an investment analyst in London before moving into fund management and investment banking. I was a Member of Parliament for 32 years and at one time a Minister responsible for climate change and energy efficiency.

Since leaving politics, I have been Chair and non-executive director of UK and French listed and unlisted companies in the energy, transport and healthcare industries.

My relationship with Korea began over a decade ago taking part in an annual forum for senior Korean and UK politicians and business leaders. In 2011, the UK Government asked me to discuss climate change with Korean officials, Parliamentarians and business people.
What are the historical, economic, or cultural qualities of Korea that appeal to you the most?

I respect Korea’s centuries’ long history and the courage it showed before, during and after World War II. I am proud that British and Korean soldiers fought side by side during the Korean War. I admire Korea’s extraordinary post-war economic success despite its very limited natural resources.

The priority which Korea attaches to education has been key to its progress. This has enabled it to transform a poor war-ravaged nation into one of the richest countries in the world in only 70 years. The application of innovative high tech solutions to economic and industrial challenges accelerated this transformation. And today, Korea is rightly famous across the world for its films, its music and its outstanding lady golfers.
Tim Yeo, Honorary UK Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea
On the back of your extensive experience in high-ranking government posts, as well as various influential positions in the private sector, what are the advantages of doing business in Korea?

Korea has the most highly educated and qualified workforce of any country in the world. It has the world’s best IT infrastructure and an excellent domestic transport network. This is very attractive to any foreign investors who are considering entering the Korean market.

It also has extensive range of free trade agreements with many countries, which makes it easy to export from Korea to these countries. The combination of these facts makes Korea a very advantageous place to do business.

How interested are companies from the UK in doing business in Korea, and what kinds of industries are they eyeing in the Korean market?

As the UK economy adjusts to being outside the European Union, its businesses are seeking closer ties with Korea and other countries outside Europe.

Gradually, UK companies are becoming better informed about what Korea offers and this knowledge makes them more keen to do business there. The UK is interested in both manufacturing and service industry opportunities.
Tim Yeo, Honorary UK Ambassador of Foreign Investment Promotion for Korea
In line with the global transition into a greener economy, what types of business opportunities does Korea’s energy sector (renewable energy/nuclear power) offer for companies from the UK and around the world?

Two aspects of the clean energy transition are particularly attractive. Firstly, the UK is a world leader in the offshore wind industry which it has promoted by providing generous subsidies for wind farm developments in UK waters.

Like Korea, the UK intends to continue to expand its offshore wind energy capacity, including the use of floating wind turbines. Secondly the UK plans to invest heavily in new nuclear energy capacity. KHNP’s recent success in exporting Korean nuclear technology to the UAE makes Korea well placed to participate in the forthcoming revival of nuclear energy in the UK.

What are your aspirations for Korea-UK relations and what would you like to accomplish during your term as honorary ambassador?

I hope to promote closer Korea-UK relations and to ensure that UK businesses are better informed about the benefits of investing in Korea.

In particular, I hope that both Korea and the UK will be at the forefront of the global response to climate change. Working in partnership our countries can lead the world towards the faster adoption of clean low carbon technology across a wide range of industries and businesses.
Can you tell us some of your ideas for revitalizing the business and investment relations between Korea and the UK going forward?

With the help of the excellent team in the London office of KOTRA, I hope to increase the personal contacts between UK business people and their counterparts in Korea. I also want to ensure that more UK businesses and investors are aware of the help and advice they can obtain from KOTRA about business conditions and opportunities in Korea.

In my view, the more that the UK, its people, investors and businesses know about Korea, the more they will want to invest and do business there.

By Grace Park
Executive Consultant
Investment Public Relations Team / Invest Korea
Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA)

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