Israel high-tech and Korea industry groups sign accord on cybersecurity cooperation

Agreement looks to facilitate entry of Israeli cyber firms to Asian markets and help Korean firms with US market exposure

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

From right to left: Marian Cohen, chairman of the Israel Hi-Tech Association; Maya Schwartz, CEO of the Israel Hi-Tech Association; and Dongbeom Lee, chairman of KISIA sign agreement on cybersecurity cooperation, May 10, 2023. (Credit: Israel Hi-Tech Association)
From right to left: Marian Cohen, chairman of the Israel Hi-Tech Association; Maya Schwartz, CEO of the Israel Hi-Tech Association; and Dongbeom Lee, chairman of KISIA sign agreement on cybersecurity cooperation, May 10, 2023. (Credit: Israel Hi-Tech Association)

The Israeli High-Tech Association this week signed an agreement with a Korean cybersecurity industry group aimed at fostering ties and encouraging business cooperation between cybersecurity and information security companies in both countries.

The memorandum of understanding was signed during a visit to Israel by a Korean delegation led by Dongbeom Lee, chairman of the Korea Information Security Industry Association (KISIA), in the presence of Marian Cohen, chairman of the Israel Hi-Tech Association and its CEO Maya Schwartz.

The Korean delegation consisted of representatives from Korean cybersecurity companies, including LG Electronics, Coontec, Secui, Darktracer and eNsecure. During their visit, they met with Israeli cybersecurity firms, including Claroty, Integrity, Waterfall Security Solutions, Embedded Solutions 3000 and Cyber 2.0.

Under the agreement, the industry associations will facilitate cooperation through mutual visits, seminars and business meetings between companies in both countries in light of the growing global threat of cyberattacks.

“Korea and Israel are similar in many areas,” said Lee. “It is easy for us to work with Israeli companies…and believe in extensive cooperation.”

“You have access to the American market we want to enter and we have access to Asian markets and we can be good partners for Israeli companies looking to penetrate these markets,” he added.

The Israeli High-Tech Association, which is part of the Israel Manufacturers Association, seeks to promote the economic growth of the Israeli high-tech industry. It has more than 300 members, of which 40 are cybersecurity companies. The cyber companies forum is led by Lior Frenkel, co-founder and CEO of Waterfall Security Solutions, and includes representatives of more than 30 leading cybersecurity firms in Israel.

KISIA describes itself as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth of the Korean cybersecurity industry and has 300 cybersecurity companies under its umbrella.

The signing of the agreement comes after a free-trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and Israel to boost bilateral trade and investment came into force in December. The FTA marks the first such pact between Israel and a country in Asia, and eliminates tariffs on goods ranging from cars and medical equipment to lipstick and video games.

The FTA  removes tariffs on Israeli imports of goods, including vehicles, industrial machinery and video game consoles. Israeli exports to South Korea of goods, including medical equipment, fertilizer, wine and cosmetics now see tariffs eliminated. The FTA also includes measures to make trade easier in other areas, such as services, investment and standards.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the time hailed the FTA as an agreement that would go beyond economic ties and lead to technological exchanges and will give Israel great advantage for the future.

Bilateral trade between Israel and South Korea increased 35% in 2021 to about $3.5 billion.

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