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Dubai Economic Council calls for enhanced economic ties with South Korea
2013-02-05 19:28:24
WAM Dubai, Feb 05th, 2013 (WAM)--Hani Al Hamli, the Secretary General of Dubai Economic Council (DEC) stressed the significance of economic ties between Dubai/UAE and the Republic of Korea, covering various areas during the recently held "2013 Middle East-Korea Financial Cooperation Roundtable" in Dubai.

He also called for strengthening these ties to utilise potential opportunities of business and finance between the two countries. The event was organised by the National Policy Committee of the Korean National Assembly, the Financial Supervisory Service, the Korea Federation of Banks, the Korean Financial Investment Association and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

The event's key theme centred on developing financial cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Korea.

Senior representatives of the organising institutions included Hon. Kim Jung-Hoon, Chairman of the National Policy Committee and Korean National Assembly, Choi Soo-Hyun, First Senior Deputy Governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, Suh, Christopher Byungho - Deputy Director of Korea Institute of Finance as well as other representatives from Korea's major banking, securities and insurance firms.

A number of presentations were delivered by key authorities from the financial sector presenting avenues for financial development and growth between the two countries. The sessions looked at the growing partnership between South Korea and the UAE as well as bilateral relations in banking and insurance sectors between the two countries. An overview of the current financial market, investment opportunities and mutual cooperation were discussed.

Al Hamli said that South Korea has established itself as one of the fastest growing markets in Asia and in the world; ranking at the 15th spot globally in terms of GDP which exceeded USD 1 trillion in 2011. In addition, he pointed out that despite the consequences of global financial crisis in 2008, Korea recovered very quickly and recorded 6.3 per cent growth rate in 2010.

Moreover, Korean companies have established themselves globally and in various industries. He said that Korean production is characterised by hi-tech, innovation and capital-intensive, thus the enhanced ties between Dubai and Korea would bring about added value to the local economy.

Hani shows that despite well-established bilateral relations between the UAE and South Korea in sectors such as nuclear energy, oil and gas, more needs to be done to attract investment in Korea and vice versa. For example, there is scope for the UAE to invest in the technological sector in Korea while the presence of Korean financial institutions in the UAE, which currently is nil, also needs to significantly develop.

Statistics show that non-oil trade between Dubai and South Korea witnessed constant growth over the last years. It increased from AED 8 billion in 2002 to AED 13 billion in 2005. Trade peaked in 2008 when it reached AED 22 billion.

In 2010, the total trade amounted to AED 19 billion, and then increased to AED 22 billion in 2011. The free zone in Dubai plays a significant role in re-export trade between Dubai and South Korea. Data unveils that re-exports from Dubai to Korea jumped from AED 43 million in 2002 to AED 62 million in 2005. In 2011, re-export trade between the two economies is estimated at AED 143 million.

Notably, Korean Banking Holding Companies (BHC) is under-represented in the Middle East and cooperation has been sluggish in financial sector. Of the 136 foreign offices that the Korean BHC have established, only 3 per cent are located in the Middle East.

A number of areas have been enumerated for financial development in the UAE such as project financing, joint financing in the form of project financing may provide benefits to both parties (business opportunity for Middle Easter banks, risk diversification for Korean FIs).

According to the Deputy Director of the Korea Institute of Finance, Suh, Christopher Byungho, "Trade relationship between Korea and the Middle East is strong and getting stronger in recent years". Bilateral trade volume measures up to 152 billion USD, up from 31 billion USD ten years ago; bilateral trade volume has increased 27.5 per cent and 39.3 per cent in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

The ever growing bilateral relations testify to the mutual understanding between the leadership of the two countries even as more work needs to be done to take these relations to new levels in the interest of the two nations.

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