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Italy - In South Korea violins have a sound of Cremona

EU trade deals sees Italian luthiers triumph in South Korea

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Sound of Cremona is a small artisan business from Cremona, home of the famous Italian luthier, Antonio Stradivari. Edgar Russ, who founded the company in 1990, is an Austrian master luthier who moved to Cremona to study this art in its hometown.

Since the opening of his first workshop, the company has combined tradition and innovation thanks to a desire to meet the varying needs of the market. Alongside the finest handmade instruments personally made by Master Russ, Sound of Cremona also offers a choice to satisfy a whole range of different tastes, skill-levels and price ranges.

The company now has a team of two master luthiers, Edgar Russ and his South Korean partner Minjeong Kang, plus five additional employees. Upon the ratification of the 2011 EU-South Korea trade deal Sound of Cremona gained approved exporter status in South Korea. In addition to improving the business environment the agreement lifted tariff duties and other barriers to trade, enabling Sound of Cremona to offer its violins at more competitive prices.

South Korea is now the fourth largest market in the world for Italian violins and exports to the country grew by 65% between 2010 and 2015. In fact, in the first five months of 2016, Sound of Cremona has made more sales than throughout all of 2011.

Such strong demand in South Korea has enabled the company to offset the effects of declining markets such as  Japan where the lack of an EU trade deal at present makes doing business more difficult.

Find out more about the EU's trade relations with South Korea