South Korea agrees to boost intra-trade with Pakistan
LAHORE: The South Korean Embassy in Pakistan and Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Friday agreed to give intra-trade a new boost through joint ventures between the private sectors of the countries.
The meeting was held between Korean Ambassador Dr Song Jong-Hwan, LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad and Vice President Nasir Saeed on Friday. The Korean ambassador said that the trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and Korea should be enhanced as both countries have potential markets and the abilities & resources to fulfil each other’s needs.
“Pakistan provides a very potential market,” the Ambassador said, adding that doing business in a country like Pakistan has always been very profitable. He said that Korea is the 15th largest trading partner of Pakistan. Although, in the two years of this partnership, after touching the two-way trade volume at $1.6 billion in 2012, it decreased by 27% to $1.17 billion in 2014.
He said the absence of a free trade agreement (FTA) between Korea and Pakistan, non-availability of proper trade information and lack of understanding in some promising areas are the main possible reasons behind the decline.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that Korea is an important trading partner of Pakistan and the second biggest export destination of Pakistan in East Asia after China, standing at 14th place amongst the top importing countries and at 16th place among the top exporting countries for Pakistan.
He said that the total volume of trade between the two countries was around $1.26 billion in 2013 but in the following year, it came down to about $1 billion. It was mainly because of a substantial decrease in imports and exports, as the imports dropped from $859 million to $658 million and the exports fell from $397 million to $378 million during the same period.
Arshad said that even though the worth of Pak-Korea bilateral trade is above $1 billion, it could still be improved. “Korea will outclass other countries in terms of foreign direct investment as different Korean companies are gaining success in the country. 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 the recent meetings with the 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, considering the size of the Korean economy, which is ranked among the twenty largest economies of the world. Pakistan can benefit by developing trade and economic relations with Korea, he added.
“The quickest way to achieve the desired objective is to highlight the need of diversifying product lines of both countries through mobilising business forums, exchanging business delegations and participating in each other’s exhibitions and for that purpose, market surveys and latest trends prevailing in both the countries must be gathered and shared with the representatives of private sectors,” the LCCI President said.
LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed on the occasion said both the countries have economic relations that are decades old besides having experienced good outcomes of the joint ventures in various fields like telecommunications, electronics, chemical industry, automobiles industry and construction etc. We need to identify more areas of economic cooperation.
Nasir Saeed said that a lot of development work is going on with respect to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), adding that this project would cause some changes in the political and economic scenario of the country. He urged the Korean business community to forecast new opportunities which promise good fortunes to foreign investors.