South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have agreed to step up joint efforts to help the G-20 economic forum to deliver its commitment to bring stability to the world economy, including fighting speculation in food and energy markets. "France and Korea express their shared concerns about commodity markets.
They are determined to work on concrete and operational solutions to reduce food and energy price volatility and mitigate its impacts on the most vulnerable," the two sides said in a joint statement quoted today by Korean New Agency(Yonhap).
"They support the active work undertaken to improve the transparency in both physical and derivative markets ... increase food security and strengthen the regulation and supervision of commodity derivatives," the nine-point statement said.
Lee and Sarkozy agreed to help this year''s G-20 meeting to produce results that will "ensure a strong, sustainable and balanced growth" and called for greater oversight of the financial sector, especially the shadow banking system and the commodity derivatives markets.
The G-20 forum was formed in late 2008 to discuss joint responses to an economic crisis that battered the world economy at the time. The G-20, which includes major industrialized and emerging nations, accounts for about 85 percent of the global economy. Lee and Sarkozy also discussed ways to increase bilateral trade and investment, taking advantage of the free trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union (EU) set to take effect in July, amid views that their economic ties are underperforming compared to the sizes of their economies.
The size of France''s economy is similar to that of Germany, but South Korea''s trade volume with France amounts to only US$7.3 billion, about a third of that with Germany.
France is only the 27th-largest trade partner for South Korea in the world and the fifth among the EU nations.