The UAE and South Korea have vowed to make joint efforts to push for their agreed-upon joint projects and investment plans in energy, the arms industry and the overall economic and trade fields without a hitch, Seoul’s industry ministry said.
The consensus was reached during a meeting between South Korea’s Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang and the UAE Minister for Economy, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, in Seoul, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The ministers confirmed that the two nations were working together to implement business deals and cooperation agreements that they signed in January and agreed to strive further to draw tangible results in trade promotion, advanced technologies, and the energy sector, among other fields.
During and after the January summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and the UAE President H H Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the two sides signed 45 memorandums of understanding, two deals and a letter of intent worth $6.1 billion combined. The UAE announced its decision to invest $30 billion in South Korea in the nuclear power, arms, and energy fields.
As the two nations are working out the details of the investment plan, the ministers agreed to explore cooperation in such new industries as aviation, bio, education, agriculture, and information and communication technology.
They also vowed to make joint efforts to clinch a free trade agreement between South Korea and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at an early date.
The GCC comprising six countries – the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait – and negotiations were under way for the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the last session taking place in February.
“We will check the progress of planned projects with the UAE, as well as with such major Middle East nations as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, through high-level exchanges and ministerial-level cooperation channels,” the South Korean ministry said.
The UAE is South Korea’s second-largest trade partner in the GCC and the Arab regions as of 2022. The UAE-Korean non-oil foreign trade totalled $917 million in the first two months of 2023, up 9% from the previous year. The volume of our non-oil trade exchanges totalled $5.31 billion in 2022, reflecting a 14% year-on-year increase.
The UAE has unveiled plans to invest approximately $29.95 billion in South Korea over the next few years. UAE’s investments in South Korea are concentrated in several key sectors such as industry, trade, shipping, communications, real estate, and commerce.
On the other hand, South Korean FDI in the UAE reached approximately $2.21 billion as of early 2021, marking a remarkable growth of 73% since the beginning of 2013.
According to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Global Trade Outlook and Statistics Report 2022, the UAE’s trade in goods with the rest of the world hit $1.024 trillion in 2022, as the share of both exports and imports increased on the back of higher oil prices.