Korean diplo­mat seeks en­hanced eco­nomic ties

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL - Ja­hangir Hayat

Korean Am­bas­sador to Pak­istan Dr. Song Jong Hwan Wed­nes­day said that Pak­istan has all the re­quired in­gre­di­ents to grow like China.

He was ad­dress­ing at a meet­ing here at the La­hore Cham­ber of Com­merce & In­dus­try. The LCCI Pres­i­dent Ijaz A. Mum­taz, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent Mian Nau­man Kabir and Vice Pres­i­dent Syed Mah­mood Ghaz­navi also spoke on the oc­ca­sion. Korean Am­bas­sador said that in 1980, China was ex­actly like Pak­istan and to­day it has be­come the eco­nomic gi­ant of the world. "I am sure that 10 years down the line, Pak­istan would be a shin­ing star on the world eco­nomic hori­zon", Dr. Song Jong Hwan said.

Am­bas­sador ex­pressed the op­ti­mism that the vol­ume of trade be­tween Pak­istan and South Korea was bound to in­crease as both the gov­ern­ments are tak­ing mea­sures to get the de­sired re­sults. Dr. Song Jong Hwan called for a proper sec­tor-spe­cific strat­egy to iden­tify the chal­lenges and prob­lems com­ing in the way of bi­lat­eral trade be­tween Pak­istan and Korea.

The diplo­mat while iden­ti­fy­ing a num­ber of ar­eas for mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion said that there was a need for ex­per­tise­shar­ing as both the coun­tries have a lot to learn from each other. He urged the LCCI to ar­range a busi­ness del­e­ga­tion to South Korea so that Pak­istani busi­ness­men could have first hand knowl­edge about op­por­tu­ni­ties there. The LCCI Pres­i­dent Ijaz A. Mum­taz said that Korea is an im­por­tant trad­ing part­ner of Pak­istan. South Korea is the sec­ond big­gest ex­port des­ti­na­tion of Pak­istan in East Asia af­ter China. It comes at 14th place among the top im­port­ing coun­tries and at 16th place among the top ex­port­ing coun­tries for Pak­istan.

He said that the to­tal vol­ume of trade be­tween Pak­istan and Korea was around dol­lar 1.26 bil­lion in 2013 but in the fol­low­ing year, it came down to al­most dol­lar 1 bil­lion. It was mainly be­cause of the sub­stan­tial de­crease in im­ports from Korea in last two years. He said that the im­ports dropped from dol­lar 859 mil­lion to dol­lar 658 mil­lion. Like­wise, Pak­istan's ex­ports also fell from dol­lar 397 mil­lion to dol­lar 378 mil­lion in the same pe­riod.

Ijaz A. Mum­taz said that although the worth of bi­lat­eral trade is still above dol­lar 1 bil­lion but there is a plenty of mar­gin to im­prove it. It se­ri­ously calls for mak­ing joint ef­forts. "The way dif­fer­ent Korean com­pa­nies are gain­ing suc­cess in Pak­istan that day is not far away when Korea will out­class other coun­tries in terms of for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment. We are ready to fa­cil­i­tate new Korean com­pa­nies to study the mar­ket con­di­tions in Pak­istan", the LCCI Pres­i­dent added.

He said that Korea has al­ready de­clared Pak­istan as a pri­or­ity des­ti­na­tion for in­vest­ment and busi­ness in re­cent meet­ings with busi­ness com­mu­nity. He said that the suc­cess sto­ries of lead­ing Korean busi­ness groups in Pak­istan like Dae­woo, Sam­sung, LG and Hyundai etc. can serve as a strong ref­er­ence to other Korean com­pa­nies to in­vest here. Ijaz A. Mum­taz said that the fo­rums like KOTRA Karachi can also play piv­otal role in search­ing new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and build­ing eco­nomic part­ner­ship be­tween Korea and Pak­istan in var­i­ous fields.

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