TRADE between Qatar and South Korea is poised to grow remarkably in the next few years, said a former minister who is leading a business delegation from that country.
Speaking to Gulf Times, former Korean minister for energy, industry, commerce and trade Hee-Beom Lee said last year $10bn worth trade took place between the two countries.
Lee, who is leading the delegation under the aegis of the Korea International Trade Association (Kita), of which he is the chief executive officer and chairman, said Korea exported goods worth $1bn to Qatar last year.
“Our imports from Qatar, which comprised mostly LNG and petrochemical products amounted to approximately $8bn.”
Lee is also the president of Korea-Arab Society, which he said, aims to intensify exchanges between Korea and the region’s countries.
The Kita, established in 1946, with the mission of promoting trade and contributing to the national economy by building trade infrastructure and envisioning national trade policy has over 66,000 member-companies, mainly engaged in trading and manufacturing enterprises.
This year, in just eight months, trade between the two countries has already exceeded $1bn, the former minister said.
Expressing confidence that it is bound to grow further in the next few years, Lee said more Korean companies had expressed their desire to work in Qatar in view of what he described as “very favourable” business environs existed in the country.
“One of our major investments is in the form of a petroleum refinery, that is being set up by Honam Petrochemicals, in Mesaieed,” the ex-minister said.
Lee said the Korean companies were prepared to provide expertise in such fields as pharmaceuticals, construction and information technology.
“Already some well-known construction firms from Korea are working in the country, in particular in Ras Laffan,” he said.
Lee said Korea was keen on expanding the activities of Korea-Arab Youth Association and added that his country would like to intensify the links between the youth from the region and Korea through the forum.
“Korea would like to highlight the better educational facilities where the region’s youth could pursue their studies,” he said.
Lee also expressed the hope that there would be more co-operation between Korea and Qatar in forthcoming years in the area of sports.
“Korea has better expertise in building and maintaining sport facilities and we would like to share that with the region’s countries,” he said.
Terming the Korea International Trade Association as the main link to promote business of Korea with the GCC countries, the former minister said the forum has identified some areas where there should be more co-operation between Korea and the GCC states
Lee, who has served along with current UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon in the same ministry, when the latter was Korea’s foreign minister, said he was very familiar with the region’s culture and tradition.
“As a minister, I have visited most countries of the region, including Qatar and know the likes and dislikes of the people here,” he said.
On the ongoing tour, representatives of companies engaged in businesses such as construction, construction equipment, auto spare parts, hydraulic breakers, cranes, fork lifts, LED signboards, multi-display screen, remote lighting lifters, diamond tools, heat exchangers, aluminised steel, portable toxic gas detectors, energy drink and pharmaceuticals are accompanying Lee.
Yesterday, a Korean food festival was held at The Diplomatic Club.
Earlier, the visitors held a day-long interactive session at Ramada Plaza with members of the Qatar business fraternity. Qatari Businessmen Association president Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani was among the prominent local entrepreneurs who held discussions with Lee.
The team members are also visiting Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in search of what they described as “growing” opportunities in the two countries.
The companies in the current business delegation are Astronix Co Ltd, Cosmos Corporation, Digital Sign Co. Ltd, Dong-A Pharmaceuticals, DWI Co Ltd, Juchan Corporation, Kodia Industry, OSCG Co Ltd, Puqutec -Power Quality & Technology Co Ltd, Reeltech Co Ltd, Senko Co Ltd, Soosung Engineering Co Ltd, Sungsan Corporation and Youdak Industry Co Ltd.
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