South Korea has plenty of opportunities to export its technology and expertise to Qatar and setup manufacturing facilities here in a wide range of sectors, South Korea’s new ambassador to Qatar said.
While geographically small, ambassador Kim Chang-mo said, Qatar could serve as hub to the wider Middle East market, which could help attract and encourage major South Korean companies to pour investments here.
“I think South Korea has the expertise and the required technology. LED manufacturing is also a good area and has potential for the two countries to co-operate. That is why we have proceeded with the establishment of an LED manufacturing facility in Qatar,” Kim told Gulf Times.
“Qatar could be a very good bridge to the Middle East for South Korean products. We have the technology, expertise, and the experience, while Qatar has the capital, so we can have complimentary co-operation in many areas considering that the Qatar government is focusing on self-sufficiency and agriculture, as well as food security,” he continued.
Aside from IT and manufacturing, Kim also said Qatar and South Korea could explore investment opportunities in the fields of agriculture and aquaculture.
“I feel that there is potential for investments in our aquaculture industry. Also, smart farming could be promising area to co-operate. Only less than 30% of South Korea’s terrain is arable and most of our territory is surrounded by mountainous areas, so smart farming is very important in our country and the industry is growing. We could share these technologies with Qatar,” the ambassador explained.
Kim also lauded the way Qatar has handled the unjust economic blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt on June 15, 2017. He said the gulf crisis was an opportunity for Qatar to expand its manufacturing and industrial sectors.
“I feel that one year after the blockade, Qatar feels confident that they can overcome any difficulties and that they could utilise this crisis into another opportunity to strengthen its industries.
“It is amazing to see Qatar’s domestic production in agriculture; it is increasing very rapidly and maybe it can also affect other industries, too. In the procedure of economic development, I feel that any country should have this period to upgrade its economic growth. It was a great opportunity for Qatar to do that,” Kim said.
He also said there is still room to grow and develop Qatar-South Korea bilateral trade. In 2017, trade volume between the two countries stood at $11.3bn. South Korea’s exports comprise of vehicles, heavy construction equipment, and transformers. Imports from Qatar, on the other hand, comprise of liquefied natural gas, crude oil, and naphtha.
Since 1968, South Korea’s investments in Qatar amounted to $70.8mn from 250 projects in construction, facility management, rental service, and manufacturing, among others.
“South Korea has many strong areas such as IT, mobile phones, semiconductors, cosmetics, shipbuilding, and steel manufacturing, so Qatar has lots of potential to be an investor in South Korea,” Kim said.
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