South Korea witnessed a record 288% jump in exports to Qatar on medical equipment related to Covid-19 in the first five months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, according to ambassador Chang-mo Kim.
The ambassador said South Korea exported Covid-19 test kits “worth $7mn to Qatar until May 2020,” and explained that new business opportunities could be found in the fields of essential medical equipment, such as Covid-19 test kits and IT solutions related to prevention and control of infectious diseases.
Kim noted that the trade pattern between Qatar and South Korea “is expected to remain mostly the same.” South Korea is the second-largest export destination for Qatar “and will continue to import natural gas and crude oil from Qatar,” he stressed.
“Given that South Korea’s exports to Qatar depend on the number of projects South Korean companies are working on here, it is hard to expect changes in the volume of our exports to Qatar accurately.
“However, exports of Covid-19-related medical equipment from South Korea to Qatar during the first five months of this year have increased by 288%, compared with the same period last year, and further increase is expected, considering that we are still witnessing a number of new cases of Covid-19 in Qatar every day,” Kim told Gulf Times.
Also, following the signing of the three agreements between Qatar Petroleum and South Korean companies on June 1 for the construction of more than 100 LNG carriers “with a total value of $19.2bn,” Kim said the volume of exports from South Korea to Qatar “is expected to increase in areas related to shipbuilding.”
“I am sure our bilateral trade relations will stay vibrant and strong and further develop in the upcoming years,” the ambassador emphasised.
Asked what initiatives should South Korean companies focus on or prioritise under the new normal in terms of technology and innovation, Kim pointed to IT technologies related to virtual meetings or distant diagnosis and treatment.
“This could be another area where South Korean companies have advantages as we should treat patients while keeping social distancing. There are many South Korean IT companies and medical equipment manufacturers ready to supply their products to Qatar,” he stressed.
Kim said the embassy is playing a key role in keeping South Korean companies abreast with the investment opportunities available in Qatar.
“Our embassy is committed to providing South Korean companies with detailed information about doing business in Qatar, including recent market trends, Qatari government’s economic policy and measures to support foreign investments. We also give necessary assistance to South Korean companies confronted with difficulties while doing business in Qatar.
“We help South Korean companies complete their ongoing projects in Qatar and facilitate market access for South Korean companies interested in Qatar, contributing to further strengthening of the two countries’ economic relations,” he said.
Kim said most South Korean companies in Qatar are operating in the fields of construction and industry. Notwithstanding the Covid-19 crisis, the ambassador said South Korean companies are working on “many important construction projects as planned thanks to the Qatari government’s thoughtful policy.”
“Let me express my sincere gratitude to Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health and related authorities for their efforts to keep Qatar and expatriate communities safe. Thanks to their efforts, the situation is improving now.
“South Korean companies are strictly following the Qatari government’s various social distancing measures to prevent further spread of Covid-19 and voluntarily taking precautionary measures in preparation for a potential second wave. They are holding most of their meetings with clients virtually,” Kim stressed.