ABU DHABI: Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, held a meeting with Dukgeun Ahn, Minister of Trade of the Republic of South Korea, at the Ministry of Economy headquarters in Dubai. The meeting explored joint investment opportunities in several priority fields including trade, industry, real estate, insurance, health, technology, digital transformation and food security.
The meeting took place in the presence of Lee Seok-gu, Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea to the UAE, in addition to representatives of several South Korean government entities.
During the meeting, Al Zeyoudi underlined the strength and vitality of the UAE’s strategic partnership with South Korea, which is the result of both governments’ commitment to continuously develop and strengthen it. He also highlighted the frequent exchange of visits by high-level officials and trade delegations between the two countries. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol had visited the UAE in January this year, during which he met with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, to explore the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Al Zeyoudi added: “The trade and economic relations between the UAE and South Korea are witnessing continuous growth. Non-oil trade between the two countries totaled nearly AED19.5 billion (USD5.3 billion) in 2022, up 14 percent from 2021. Also, the UAE exports to South Korea grew by 17.5 percent last year to exceed AED2.8 billion (USD781 million), while our re-exports to South Korea totaled AED 1.3 billion (USD367 million).”
He added: “Today’s meeting is yet another step forward in elevating our trade and investment partnership to new heights. We are keen to work closely with our partners in South Korea to boost trade cooperation in various sectors that offer promising opportunities for the future.”
During the meeting, the two ministers agreed to enhance joint efforts to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was recently signed between the UAE Ministry of Economy and the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. This agreement forms part of a series of MoUs signed between the two countries in January 2023 during the official visit of a top-level South Korean delegation to the UAE.
The MoU aims to boost trade exchanges between the two countries by facilitating import and export procedures for exporters and importers in both markets, thus creating more investment and trade opportunities for the private sector. These efforts will encourage both UAE and Korean SMEs to expand their businesses into each other’s markets, giving rise to new future-ready partnerships.
The UAE also plans to invest nearly USD30 billion in South Korea over the next few years, covering a number of important economic sectors. South Korean FDI in the UAE totaled USD2.2 billion up until the beginning of 2021, reflecting a 73 percent growth compared to the beginning of 2013. These investments are mostly concentrated in finance, insurance, mining, retail, real estate, and transportation, energy and technology sectors.
Furthermore, Al Zeyoudi apprised the Korean delegation of the economic policies adopted by the UAE to enhance its national investment environment. These include incentives and enablers to encourage the private sector to invest and expand in the country’s markets, amendments to the Commercial Companies Law that allowed 100 percent foreign ownership in the country, and upgraded residency laws designed to attract business owners, entrepreneurs and talents, and to enhance the growth of business, trade and economic activities.
Moreover, Al Zeyoudi elaborated on the UAE’s achievements under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) program, which has resulted in the signing of four agreements with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey in the last 12 months. He added that CEPA negotiations are currently progressing with more strategic markets to enhance the future growth and sustainability of the UAE’s foreign trade.
Also highlighted during the meeting were the advantages and opportunities offered by the UAE’s NextGenFDI initiative to foreign companies wishing to invest and expand in the UAE. The initiative aims to develop the UAE’s technological ecosystem and inject USD500 million into the national economy by attracting global companies working in the fields of technology, digital solutions and software to the country.