Korean diplomat seeks enhanced economic ties
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.