Business Bureau, Gulf Today
Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri signs an agreement during a virtual meeting in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. WAM
The seventh session of the UAE-South Korea Joint Economic Committee (JEC) was held virtually, chaired by Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy; and Nam-Ki Hong, Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, and in the presence of Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade. During the session, the two countries agreed to enhancing cooperation according to 10 vital and strategic sectors and programmes.
The two sides emphasised the strength of the UAE-Korean relations, which have witnessed a significant expansion since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 1980. They further indicated the need to continue joint work to expand the scope of this strategic partnership to include more sectors and opportunities, in a way that serves the interests and aspirations of both countries in development and prosperity.
In addition, the UAE and South Korea discussed the global economic developments in light of the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on global trade. Furthermore, both sides expressed satisfaction with the trade exchange rates over the past years. In this context, the two sides agreed to work closely to enhance mutual non-oil trade, exchange experiences and knowledge, and enhance access to development opportunities in the two countries’ markets.
Cooperation and joint investments aimed at industrialisation and commercial production in the sectors of SMEs and communication, information technology (IT), artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IoT), 5G, smart agriculture, green economy, energy, renewable energy, science and innovation in the medical and agricultural sectors, in addition to education, tourism, financial services and transportation were also discussed.
The two sides further emphasised the importance of continuing efforts to open up new avenues for the private sector in the two countries. It was also agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the UAE with the Korean side to activate the cooperation frameworks related to Korea’s participation in the Expo, which has been postponed to next year in compliance with the precautionary measures implemented globally in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Bin Touq said that the bilateral and economic relations between the UAE and Korea and are based on a long history of friendship and mutual respect and include almost all sectors. In addition, he highlighted the UAE’s keenness to establish frameworks for cooperation in the fields of technology to benefit from the world-leading Korean experience in this regard.
He added that the volume of non-oil trade exchange between the two countries is promising, as it amounted to more than $5 billion in 2019. The volume of UAE exports to Korea doubled compared to 2018, while re-exports grew nearly three times.
Bin Touq added that the scope of the current mutual investments includes wide sectors in the two countries’ markets, such as energy, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, logistics services, technology, communications, financial services, construction, real estate, port management, and others.
“We are focusing on the advanced technology sectors in particular, so that the UAE and Korean economies can progress and work together through joint investment in the fields of innovation, research and development, to reach the commercial production in the sectors of the new economy,’ he said.
He also touched on how the UAE’s leadership is expediting the systematic response to the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing to the UAE government’s recent launch of a flexible package and a general plan of 33 initiatives to support various economic sectors. The Minister added that MOE will implement this package to provide integrated programs and boost development of the national economy, and that the outputs of this package will serve the country’s economic relations with global partners.
Nam-Ki Hong said: “I am happy that the 7th Joint Economic Committee between the UAE and Korea was held today, as this year also marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and the Republic of Korea. We have been developing an exemplary cooperation over the years, particularly in the field of healthcare, energy and infrastructure, and Barakah nuclear power plant is a perfect example for this.”
“This year, very close cooperation between both countries in dealing with COVID-19 has once again proven the value of our outstanding strategic partnership. Given the history of our highly successful and mutually beneficial cooperation, I look forward to advancing these efforts to the next stage by jointly developing strategies for the post COVID-era. Recently, Korea announced the ‘Korean Green New Deal Strategy,’ much like the 50-year strategy announced by the UAE, which aims to develop future industries based on AI, IOT, 5G, ICT and advanced manufacturing. The two countries have many things in common in our future development strategies. We can find our next stage of cooperation in this area and the 7th JEC did serve as a springboard for the next stage,” he concluded.