Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal during a group photo with participants and speakers at the ‘Sharjah-Korea Business Roundtable’.
The Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), operating under the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), in collaboration with Korea International Trade Association (KITA), organised a Sharjah–Korea Business Roundtable at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), to explore greater economic ties and synergies between Sharjah and Korea and introduce the emerging prospects and investment opportunities in competitive sectors to Korean investors.
While highlighting the sectors such as transportation and logistics, light manufacturing, travel and leisure, environment, technology and innovation, healthcare, education and research, start-ups and SMEs, that have traditionally played an important role in enriching Sharjah’s FDI appeal, the roundtable also drew attention to new and emerging sectors where economic cooperation between Sharjah and the Republic of Korea could be expanded.
The roundtable placed a special focus on areas in which Korean companies could engage with Sharjah to grow their presence in the MENA region such as sports, education, agriculture, renewable energy, space technology and ICT development.
More than 85 trade professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, Sharjah government officials and business stakeholders attended the Sharjah–Korea Business Roundtable which also emphasised the ease of doing business in Sharjah.
Prominent attendees included E.Chun Young-wook, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Dubai; Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Shurooq; and Gi Hyun Kim, President of Korea International Trade Association KITA.
Representing Sharjah government entities included HE Hussain Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP); Dr. Abdel Aziz Al Muheiri, Director, Sharjah Health Authority;Shihab Al Hammadi, Authority Director, Sharjah Media City (Shams); Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Invest In Sharjah; Mohamed Bin Kuwair, Senior Director of International Projects, Bee’ah; and Mr. Emerson Buarque, General Manager – Business Development, Gulftainer.
KITA members at the event included Do Hyung Lee, Chief Representative, Export-Import Bank of Korea; Mr. Si Kyung Nam, Managing Director, Posco International; Tor-hyung Kim, Vice President, Hyosung; and Hyo Won Lee, General Manager, Ssangyong E&C.
The UAE and Korea has completed 40 years of diplomatic relations and the ‘special strategic relationship’ the two nations share is continuing to enhance investment cooperation in several key sectors. Around 200 South Korean companies currently operate in the UAE with two-way trade between the two nations amounting to $14 billion (Dh51bn).
From food to automotive and fashion industries, Korea has had a presence across key B2B and B2C sectors in Sharjah. As of October 2019, the emirate is home to 37 registered onshore and offshore Korean companies.
Reiterating that Sharjah’s business-friendly environment and pro-investor policies have enabled thousands of businesses from around the world, in his welcome address, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Shurooq, stated that “Our business infrastructure boasts a strong network of free zones and industrial zones that continues to grow. We have been undertaking a range of measures to boost foreign investment flows, which is supported by competitive advantages such as strong connectivity and low operating costs by regional standards.”
Al Sarkal urged participating Korean businessmen to use the roundtable as a platform to tap into the limitless potential of Sharjah, saying, “By combining our specific expertise and investments in space technology and ICT development, for instance, we can take proactive steps to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“Sharjah is always open for business, and Shurooq is open for new partnerships,” he added, touching upon the MoU Shurooq signed in 2018 with REI Holding Group, Korea’s global investment corporation, to encourage bilateral investments, collaborate on industry information and expand business networks in both countries.
In his address, Mr. Gi Hyun Kim, President of KITA said: “Korea is an ideal economic partner for UAE as it is a major technology powerhouse with increasing investments in innovation and advanced technology.” He also pointed out that with more than 73,000 member companies from start-ups to established MNCs, KITA is positioned as the ideal platform for companies in the UAE and MENA region to discuss partnership opportunities.