Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea (left) and Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber at the UAE-Korea Business Forum in Dubai. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on companies from the UAE to invest in his country, saying that his government will continue to support UAE-based firms that invest there.

Speaking in Dubai on Tuesday, Moon said that now is the time to invest in South Korea, adding that once the country “has peace in place, I assure you, your investments will be paid in full.”

He did not, however, elaborate on how the Korean peninsula may achieve peace, given threats from North Korea.

In a speech, Moon said there are opportunities for enhanced economic cooperation between the UAE and South Korea, highlighting areas that include renewable energy and the fourth industrial revolution. He also said there are opportunities in artificial intelligence, semi-conductors, space development, and information and communications technology (ICT).

Moon, who is currently on an official trip to the UAE, visited on Monday the Barakah nuclear power plant to mark the completion of the first phase of the project, which is being built by a Korean company.

He said in his speech at the UAE-Korea Business Forum on Tuesday that he hopes South Korea and the UAE work to expand their renewable energy ties, especially as both countries map out alternative energy plans.

Discussing opportunities for stronger ties, Moon said that he believes increased collaboration will take the economies of both the countries to another leap.

In the aviation industry, Moon said, he talked to UAE officials about increasing the direct links between the two countries. The two parties are currently in negotiations about adding direct air links and increasing capacity but no agreements have been reached yet.

Also speaking at the UAE-Korea Business Forum was Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who said non-oil trade between Dubai and South Korea reached $7.5 billion (Dh27.54 billion) in 2017.

He said that Dubai is well-positioned to serve as a gateway for Korean companies looking to expand their footprint across the Middle East and Africa.

Hamad Bu Amim, president and chief executive officer of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, said in a separate speech at the forum that he sees potential for collaboration with South Korean companies especially in the Internet of Things and blockchain.

“An important area for us is the focus on smart transformation. Dubai Smart City vision has a lot of interest, and we believe that collaboration with Korea can really open a lot of opportunities for businesses,” he said.

Expo interest

“The next area of interest is Expo 2020. I know Korea hosted Expo twice, so you understand this event more than anyone else. We see it as an area of collaboration because this will be the first time Expo is organised in this part of the world.”

Moon stressed that South Korea will have a large pavilion at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, and will provide support to the city as it hosts the event.

The UAE-Korean Business Forum is part of a series of events and meetings organised as a Korean delegation headed by Moon visits the UAE to discuss boosting partnership between the two countries across various sectors.