South Korean President reaffirms commitment to boost ties with UAE

  • E. Moon Jae-in attends UAE-Korea Business Forum in Dubai and stresses South Korea’s intention to expand economic cooperation
  • High-level forum organised by Dubai Chamber and held during South Korean president’s first diplomatic visit to the UAE
  • E. Al Ghurair: Dubai is well-positioned to serve as a strategic gateway for Korean companies that are keen to expand their global footprint and access markets across the Middle East, Africa and Europe
  • South Korea is Dubai’s 15th largest trading partner and bilateral non-oil trade has grown in recent years to reach $7.5 billion in 2017

Dubai, UAE: South Korea is committed to expanding cooperation with the UAE in new sectors and areas as both countries push ahead with strategic plans to further develop their economies, H.E. Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, told government and business leaders at the UAE-Korea Business Forum today in Dubai.

In his special address, H.E. Moon Jae-in emphasised the historic and cultural ties that the UAE and South Korea share, and highlighted the important role that South Korean companies have played in the UAE’s development over the years. He identified clean energy as a key area where both governments can boost collaboration and explore new opportunities.

He explained that both the UAE and South Korean governments have adopted proactive strategies to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and invested in space development and ICT, adding that the UAE has gone one step further by appointing a minister of artificial intelligence. He explained that these strategic moves and strengths will further advance both economies in the future.

The high-profile forum, organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Korean International Trade Association, put the spotlight on UAE-South Korea economic ties and synergies, and explored the potential for the two countries to enhance their cooperation beyond energy and construction to other sectors such as technology, security, infrastructure, healthcare, innovation and smart solutions.

During his welcome remarks, H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber explained that the UAE and Korea share many synergies as economies geared toward trade and foreign direct investment. He noted that both countries have placed a key focus on expanding infrastructure, fostering innovation, and improving ease of doing business, adding that these similarities and strengths have enabled their unique relationship to evolve and thrive over the years.

Dubai’s non-oil trade with South Korea has increased steadily in recent years, reaching $7.5 billion in 2017, H.E. Al Ghurair revealed, accounting for a majority of the UAE’s non-oil trade with the Asian country.

The number of South Korean companies registered with Dubai Chamber exceeds 170 today, H.E. Al Ghurair pointed out, noting that bilateral relations have been boosted by high-level visits from both sides and the signing of strategic cooperation agreements.

“Dubai is well-positioned to serve as a strategic gateway for Korean companies that are keen to expand their global footprint and access markets across the Middle East, Africa and Europe,” said H.E. Al Ghurair, adding that the Chamber remains committed to providing all necessary support and resources to ensure that Korea-UAE relations continue to flourish in the future.

Addressing delegates at the forum, H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber shed light on synergies shared by the UAE and Korea. He noted that there is huge potential to explore bilateral business opportunities in the areas of ICT, cloud computing, Internet of Things, healthcare and life sciences, and establish new joint ventures focusing on ship production, multi-modal logistics, construction and renewable energy.

Dubai Chamber’s President and CEO emphasised Dubai’s position a re-export hub for the GCC region and noted that South Korea is a major source market for electric and electronic products and machinery that are re-exported through the emirate to key markets in the region such as Saudi Arabia.

For his part, Dr. Young-Ju Kim, Chairman, Korean International Trade Association, elaborated on the strength of South Korea’s manufacturing and ICT sectors and explained that the Asian country’s expertise in these areas can complement its relationship with the UAE. He noted that the UAE boasts strong financial capabilities and identified this sector as a key area where the two countries can build on existing synergies.

Dr. Joo Dong-joo, Research Fellow at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade, highlighted the prospects for increasing industrial cooperation between the UAE and South Korea. He explained that the two countries share many similarities as economies that have witnessed remarkable economic growth and development in recent decades, which has been supported by the forward-looking and progressive vision of their respective governments. He identified artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, big data and drones as key areas where the two countries could cooperate in the future.

The UAE-Korea Business Forum, held at Dubai’s Armani Hotel on March 27th 2018, was attended by a high-level South Korean delegation led by H.E. Jae-in, which included ministers, senior government officials, and top executives from some of the country’s leading businesses.

High-level attendees representing the UAE included H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, CEO and chairman of the Emirates Group; H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy; H.E. Eng. Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Industry; H.E Abdulla Saif Al-Nuaimi, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber; H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber; H.E. Raja Al Gurg, President of the Dubai Business Women Council, and H.E. Aisha bin Bishr, Director-General of Smart Dubai Office, in addition to several key stakeholders from the UAE’s public and private sectors.

Other presentations at the event highlighted the Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah and the new Barakah nuclear power plant as key examples of successful cooperation between the UAE and South Korea.

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