Korean companies to make investment in Pakistan’s power sector: S. Korean Ambassador

LAHORE: South Korean Ambassador in Pakistan Choongjoo Choi has said that Korean companies is all set to make investment in Pakistan’s power sector.

The Ambassador was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

LCCI President Shahzad Ali Malik, Senior Vice President Sheikh Mohammad Arshad, Vice President Sohail Azhar, former Presidents Shahzada Alam Monoo, Iftikhar Ali Malik, Executive committee members Mian Zahid Javaid, Khwaja Khawar Rashid, Tahir M Sheikh, Fahimur Rehman Sehgol, Chaudhry Wajid Ali and Chairman Skill Development Council Rehmatullah Javed also spoke on the occasion.

The Ambassador said that more and more Korean companies are showing their interest for investment in energy sector to help Pakistan overcome the acute energy shortage it has been facing for long.

The Ambassador said that Korea’s trade with India stands at $16 billion which will be doubled in a few years; it is $ 1billion a day with China while bilateral trade with Pakistan is mere $1.1 billion He, However, expressed the optimism that the volume of trade between Pakistan and South Korea was bound to increase as both the governments and the private sector, in the two countries, are taking measures to get the desired results.

He said that the non-availability of required trade-related information was the biggest hurdle in the way of South Korean investment in Pakistan.

The diplomat while identifying a number of areas for mutual cooperation said that there was a need for expertise-sharing as both the countries have a lot to learn from each other. He said that there is a big potential in SME sector therefore Pakistani business community could avail opportunities in this particular area.

While calling for measures to jack-up bilateral trade and increase in Korean investment in Pakistan, the LCCI President Shahzad Ali Malik said that Pakistan is a large market, its strategic location as principal gateway to the Central Asian States and other regional countries offer lot of opportunities for relocation of Korean Industries in Pakistan.

We take pride in the fact that Korea has been an important trading country for Pakistan in Eastern Asian region followed by Japan in terms of size of bilateral trade. We are glad to have Korea as a Friend of Democratic Pakistan too.

Shahzad Ali Malik said that both the countries have decades old economic relations and experienced good results of joint ventures in various fields like telecommunication, electronics chemical industry and automobiles industry. Korean companies are also actively participating in infrastructure projects like highway construction, power generation etc.

It is really great to achieve a landmark by expanding the two way trade to over one billion dollars in 2010 which was precisely recorded to the tune of USD 1,018.5 million. It showed great improvement from USD 865.2 million in the corresponding year courtesy to significant increase both in imports and exports between the two countries.

Trade balance has traditionally not been in favour of Pakistan and currently it stands at US$-459.7 million. But the good thing is that Pakistan’s exports to Korea are showing continuous upturn from the last few years like it grew from USD 208 million to USD 279 million from 2008 to 2010.

The LCCI President said that it is the high time that we should shift our emphasis to attract Foreign Direct Investment from European to Asian countries. At present, Korean companies are well settled in Pakistan and it provides good grounds to other Korean investors to venture in Pakistan as it offers a lot of potential areas.

With the consultation and involvement of public and private sector organizations, further items for trading purposes can be identified which can be traded between two countries at much competitive prices.

He suggested that to create a win-win situation for both the countries, Koreans need to increase their imports of cotton, raw hides & skins, fish, medical apparatus, toys & games, leather products, articles of apparels and textile articles from Pakistan. Most of the Korean demand for these commodities is being met by Korea from sources other than Pakistan and only a small fragment is being imported from Pakistan. A little attention by the Korean Government and businessmen can increase Pakistan’s exports to Korea considerably.

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