Abu Dhabi: Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, has held a virtual meeting with Yeo Han-koo, South Korea’s trade minister, to discuss the prospects of developing economic and investment cooperation between the two countries.
The two ministers agreed to resume negotiations on signing a multilateral strategic trade agreement within the framework of the GCC. They also approved practical steps to launch a new phase of the economic partnership between the two countries, which includes creating fresh opportunities for business growth in their priority sectors.
Dr Al Zeyoudi underscored the depth of strategic relations between the UAE and South Korea, which, he said, extends back to more than 41 years, driven by the keenness of their leadership to enhance economic cooperation at the governmental and private levels, particularly in the post-Covid-19 phase, for targeted sectors, primarily clean energy and future economy prospects.
“The UAE is South Korea’s top Arab trading partner, accounting for about 27% of its total trade with other Arab nations. The volume of non-oil trade exchanges between the two countries amounted to about AED4.9 billion in 2020. In the first half of 2021, their non-oil trade surged to AED8 billion and the UAE exports to S. Korea exceeded AED300 million, which is up 55% compared to the first half of 2020,” the minister said.
He added, “The Emirati-Korean relations have made a qualitative leap in a number of vital sectors recently, and we will work over the coming period to propel our bilateral cooperation by increasing mutual visits to serve our common interest.”
The Korean minister underlined the close relations between the two nations across all fronts. He explained that the two countries are working on exchanging knowledge and expertise in the fields of energy and renewable energy, noting that reaching a multilateral strategic trade agreement will play a crucial role in establishing sustainable economic relations and addressing changes in the global supply chain, in a way that, he said, will support economic recovery efforts during the post Covid-19 phase.
South Korea’s direct investments to the UAE amounted to about AED2 billion by the end of 2019, while the UAE’s S. Korea-bound investments stood at AED200 million by the end of 2020.
The UAE currently hosts more than 13,000 South Korean residents, who have investments in more than 1,000 companies operating in various fields. The UAE receives over 200,000 South Korean visitors annually.