South Korea wishes to enhance cooperation with Pakistan: Mr. Suh Dong-gu

Islamabad: The Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea to Pakistan Mr. Suh Dong-gu said his country was very keen to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in hydropower generation, infrastructure development and other sectors as Pakistan was a rising economy having good potential for foreign investors. Ambassador of the Republic of Korea said while meeting with business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said that some Korean companies have already completed 2-3 hydropower projects and was constructing few more such projects in Pakistan. He said Korean companies were also cooperating with Pakistan in infrastructure development including Lowari Tunnel which would be completed by the mid of next year.

He said Pakistan and Republic of Korea were negotiating for a free trade agreement. Feasibility studies have been completed and both countries were now preparing its recommendations. He said signing of FTA would make a paradigm shift in bilateral trade and would provide better market access to Pakistani products in Korean market. He said for the last few years, Pakistani exports to Republic of Korea were on the decline and stressed that Pakistan should focus on value added products to improve trade with his country. He said Korea could cooperate with Pakistan in CPEC projects by providing heavy construction equipment and machinery.

Welcoming the South Korean envoy, Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the bilateral trade of around $1.2 billion between Pakistan and Republic of Korea was dismal and stressed that both countries give enhanced role to private sectors for improving it. He said trade balance was heavily tilted in favor of Korea and urged that Korea should provide easy market access to Pakistani products for improving trade balance.

He said Korea’s annual imports were around $500 billion with 60% raw materials, 30% pla¬nts and machinery and 10% customers’ goods like fruits, automobiles, textile and clothing. He said Pakistan has the potential to meet Korea’s needs for raw materials, fruits, textiles and garment products, however, its stringent Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) measures were major trade barriers for Pakistan. He stressed that Korea should reconsider its stringent SPS measures to facilitate entry of Pakistani products especially, agro products, fresh fruits and rice.

He said several major Korean companies were doing successful business in Pakistan and more should come to invest in energy, chemical, infrastructure development and other sectors. He said value added sea food, fish processing and packaging were other potential areas for Korean investors in Pakistan. He said Korean investors should explore possibilities of investment and joint ventures in CPEC projects. He said being an advanced economy, Korea should help Pakistan in modernizing its economy by transferring technology, knowledge sharing and capacity building. Khalid Iqbal Malik Senior Vice President, Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Khalid Chaudhry, Zikria A. Zia and others also discuss various options with Korean Envoy for improving bilateral trade between the two countries.

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