Pakistan has potential to grow like China: Korean envoy

Korean Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Song Jong Hwan said on Wednesday that Pakistan has all the required ingredients to grow like China.He was addressing a meeting at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Hwan said that in 1980, China was exactly like Pakistan and today it is an economic giant. “I am sure that 10 years down the line, Pakistan would be a shining star on the world’s economic horizon”, he said while expressing optimism that the volume of trade between Pakistan and South Korea will increase, as both the governments are taking measures to this end. LCCI President Ijaz A Mumtaz, Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir and Vice President Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi also spoke on the occasion.

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. While identifying a number of areas for mutual cooperation the diplomat said that there was a need for expertise sharing, 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 firsthand knowledge about opportunities there.

LCCI President 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 among the top exporting countries for Pakistan. He said that the total volume of trade between Pakistan and Korea was around $1.26 billion in 2013, but in the following year, it came down to almost $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 $859 million to $658 million. Likewise, Pakistan’s exports also fell from $397 million to $378 million in the same period. Mumtaz said although bilateral trade is still above $1 billion but there is a plenty of margin to improve it. “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 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, could serve as a strong reference to other Korean companies to invest here. Mumtaz said that 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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