The trade volume between South Korea and Qatar is expected to exceed $26bn by the end of this year, South Korean Ambassador Keejong Chung told Gulf Times yesterday.
Imports from Qatar to Korea stand at around $24bn for the first 11 months of 2013, while exports for the same period are at around $794mn, according to the figures on the website of Korea International Trade Association, the largest business organisation in Korea with over 71,000 member companies,
In 2012, KITA data reveals, the imports from Qatar to Korea for that entire year stood at $25.5bn, while the exports for the corresponding period were at $730mn.
As 2013 draws to a close, the envoy said that he expected the trade volumes between the two countries to become even better than what it was in 2012. He added that consolidated figures for 2013 would be revealed officially some time in February next year.
Ambassador Chung said that the New Year would mark a major milestone for the two countries’ bilateral relations.
“2014 is the 40th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between Korea and Qatar; and so, it is a very special year for us, which we hope to mark with many celebratory activities that would also include cultural programmes apart from high level visits,” he said.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, diplomatic relations with Qatar began on April 18, 1974. The first high-level visit between the two countries took place in 1984, when the former Emir of Qatar went to South Korea. In 2001, Prime Minister Lee Han-dong paid the first high-level visit to Qatar.
Speaking about the highlights of 2013, Ambassador Chung said that last August South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won had a successful visit in Qatar.
Speaking about his hope for 2014, the envoy said that he was confident about the trajectory of the bilateral relations, which would only improve with the future.
“I’m glad to say that we have very well established and friendly bilateral relations,” he said.
The ambassador hoped that the state of co-operation between the two countries, which was currently focused on energy and construction sectors, would be diversified.