Ambassador’s Message

D. Gonzalo Ortiz

D. Gonzalo Ortiz Diez-Tortosa

Embajador de España

Remarks on occasion of the General Meeting of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Korea

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games have just ended, and they have been a source of pride and satisfaction for this country, thanks to having accredited great capacity for organization, and competitive spirit with the attainment of 17 medals. Korea has been at the center of the world’s attention and furthermore, the Games have complied with its traditional olympic truce with a very positive distension process between North Korea and South Korea. Spain had a notable participation, with 13 athletes, and 2 bronze medals, one by Javier Fernández in men´s figure skating, and the second one by Regino Hernández in snow board.

This year, the Chamber of Commerce has continued its upward trajectory increasing remarkably the number of its members and gaining a rising prestige for the quality of the different events it has organized. It is worth remembering, among others, the launch of the Spanish restaurant Guide in Korea. For those who promoted its foundation in 2015, the Chamber is a dream that is becoming a reality day by day. The Embassy will continue to support their activities and to pursue future official recognition so that it can be integrated to the overseas network of Spanish Chambers.

It is also our responsibility to constantly support the activities of Spanish companies in Korea. As the former Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said, “a foreign company in China is a Chinese company”, in the same way we can say that a foreign company in Korea is a Korean company and that it has to be treated as such by these local authorities applying what is called in English “level playing field” (igualdad de oportunidades)” and “fairness” (trato correcto). On the side of the E.U., which represents the Member Countries, it should ensure the full compliance of the Free Trade Agreement so that the Spanish origin (and European) commodities can be free from non-tariff barriers and all types of regulations that traditionally are used as protectionist barriers. The Embassy and its Economic and Commercial Office will always be available to Spanish companies in support of their commercial and industrial activities.

In this year 2018, in which we celebrate today the first meeting, we have set ambitious goals. One of them is practically already achieved, such as the attainment of medals in the Winter Olympics, which we have not been able to do so since 26 years ago. Another no renounceable goal is to recover the visit of His and Her Majesty The King and Queen to Korea, which was postponed in 2016, a visit that should serve to increase in a decisive way the Spanish business presence in this market. Other middle and long-term goals would be the creation of an Iberoamerican Cultural Institute that can promote in Korea the cultural expressions of Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries, the Cervantes Institute, which we have been talking about since 2005 and that will serve as engine for our language and culture and, finally, a Spanish Tourism Office in Korea that dynamize even more the exponential growth of Korean tourism towards Spain during the recent years.

The Chamber has much achieved in these three years since its foundation. I have to congratulate its board of directors, especially President Ernest Ribas and the administrative team led by Roger Royo for the work they have done, but we already know that complacency is the beginning of decadence, and that we should overcome ourselves. This is the title of Bernardo Stamateas’ book from which I have extracted some pieces of advice:

  •      Do what is most important
  •      Give priority to the tasks that will lead to your success
  •      Make relations with the correct people that will give value to your life
  •      Set deadlines to accomplish your challenges

Well, there is still much left for 2018 and these challenges are just around the corner, such as the celebration of the Paralympic Games and the series of seminars, conferences, social gatherings that surely the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Korea have prepared for us.

Thank you all for your interest and support.


D. Gonzalo Ortiz Diez-Tortosa

Spain Ambassador