Khaleej Times, UAE
S. Korean Investments into the UAE to Rise after FTA with GCC
By Haseeb Haider
8 April 2009
ABU DHABI - South Korea’s investments into the UAE will rise by 400 per cent while trade volume will expand by 50 per cent in next one year, once the free trade agreement is signed between the GCC and Seoul, a senior official said.
The second round of the GCC-Korea trade talks concluded last month while more rounds of negotiations will take place in the coming months.
The South Koreans attach great hopes on the free trade agreement, which is expected to be signed towards the end of this year.
It would be Korea’s third such trade agreement after it concluded deals with the US and EU. “These agreements are yet to be implemented as they need parliamentary rectifications,” Hybung-Wook Kim, vice-president for the Middle East and Africa at Korea Trade investment Promotion Agency, or Kotra, told Khaleej Times, on the sidelines of the Seoul Business Forum, organised by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
The UAE has negligible investments in world’s 14th largest economy though South Korea had invested $181 million in 2007, which could see an increase of 400 per cent in the next one year, Kim said.
Korea projects a 50 per cent rise in its exports to the UAE, which jumped from $3.7 billion in 2007 to $5.7 billion in 2008, as the five per cent customs duty will be abolished as a direct consequence of the free trade agreement.
The Southeast Asian country’s exports to the GCC region were $12.7 billion in 2008.
The UAE is Korea’s fourth largest crude and Liquid Natural Gas supplier with exports totalled $19.2 billion in 2008, up against $12.6 billion in 2007.
Meanwhile, a Korean firm SK Construction signed a contract with Abu Dhabi‘s real estate developer Al Tamouh Investments for the construction of four multi-storied buildings worth $373 million on the newly developed Al Reem Island.
An MoU was also signed between the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia being developed by Emaar Properties and Korea’s Digital Media City operated by Seoul Business Agency, for co-operation in the areas of urban development, culture, human resources, in addition to business.
Earlier in a presentation, Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Vice-Mayor Ra Jin-Gu invited the UAE investors to set up projects in a number of specialised zones and industrial clusters being developed in the city.