UAE and South Korea agree to expand economic cooperation in 11 strategic sectors, boost economy
06 Jul 2023
During the eighth session of the UAE-South Korea Joint Economic Committee
UAE and South Korea agree to expand economic cooperation in 11 strategic sectors, boost economy
H.E. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri:The bilateral ties between the two countries have developed significantly in recent years thanks to the support and patronage of the leaderships of the two friendly countries. The Committee has played a crucial part in enhancing the strategic partnership between the two nations, contributing significantly to its strengthening.
H.E. Kyungho CHOO:We are keen on bolstering economic and business relations with the friendly nation of the UAE in the sectors of the new economy.
Boosting mutual investments is the fields of technology, innovation, renewable energy, agriculture, logistics, tourism, and entrepreneurship are among the top cooperation priorities of the Committee.
Emphasizing the significance of building upon the achievements of the summit between President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and President Yoon in January 2023.
The eighth session of the UAE-South Korea Joint Economic Committee (JEC) - which was chaired by H.E. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, and H.E. Kyungho CHOO, South Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance - was held recently in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The session was attended by various government officials, investors, and business representatives from both countries.
Both the sides have reached an agreement to enhance and broaden economic collaboration, encouraging mutual investments across 11 strategic sectors during the next stage. The primary objective of this agreement is to accomplish the development agenda of both the countries and facilitate their transition towards a more adaptable and competitive economic model, focusing on the sectors of the new economy.
H.E. bin Touq emphasized the profound and robust ties between the UAE and the Republic of Korea, underscoring their progress towards broader levels of constructive cooperation across all levels, with the backing and guidance of the leaderships of both friendly nations. This collaboration aims to fulfil their objectives of sustainable development.
“We are proud of our strategic relationship with South Korea, spanning about 42 years. This relationship has been built upon friendship, mutual respect, and concerted efforts at both governmental and private sector levels. Undoubtedly, economic cooperation is the cornerstone of this strategic partnership, which has manifested through numerous collaborative endeavours in crucial sectors such as renewable energy, intellectual property, healthcare, technology, and agricultural technology. These projects have strengthened economic and trade cooperation between the two countries and moved it to higher levels,” H.E. said.
H.E. also conveyed his hopes that the current session of the UAE-South Korea Joint Economic Committee would foster increased cooperation and pave the way for new avenues of investment in the sectors of the new economy. H.E. bin Touq further expressed his optimism that this session would facilitate greater access for companies, particularly SMEs, to the emerging market opportunities, ultimately leading to mutual benefits for both nations.
H.E. highlighted the UAE economy's regional and global standing, emphasizing the country's dynamic investment environment and the benefits and incentives it provides to investors. Furthermore, H.E. bin Touq urged the South Korean business community to leverage these advantages to foster the expansion and prosperity of their commercial ventures across various sectors in both the UAE and the wider region.
H.E. Kyungho CHOO, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance pointed to the depth and strength of relations between South Korea and the UAE. H.E. asserted the importance of strengthening economic and trade relations in new economic sectors during the next phase, which will support the future sustainable economic development of the two friendly nations.
Furthermore, during the eighth session of the UAE-South Korea Joint Economic Committee, the two parties reviewed the advancements made in the implementation of the resolutions reached during the seventh session of the Committee, which took place in September 2020. They focused on the agreements derived from the session, particularly in sectors such as energy, investment, trade, climate change, agriculture, water resources, emerging industries, smart infrastructure, healthcare, and intellectual property.
Recognizing the significance of the summit held in January 2023 in Abu Dhabi, which brought together His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of South Korea, the two countries emphasized the enhancement of their strategic partnership. They highlighted the importance of leveraging the achievements of this summit by reinforcing collaboration through the Joint Economic Committee.
The UAE and South Korea both agreed to expand and diversify bilateral cooperation across a wide range of sectors and vital industries, enhance mutual investments, and explore further promising opportunities in the new economy sectors, including:
Green Economy and Clean Energy:
The leaders reiterated their commitment to enhancing cooperation across the green economy and clean energy sectors, through the implementation of the agreements previously signed, during the Presidents’ summit held in January 2023. These include storage and management of oil, electing relevant strategic action groups to drive decarbonization, creating clean hydrogen supply chain, and developing relevant mutual technologies.
In an effort to support startups, the two countries asserted the need to provide all financial support mechanisms and enablers required for the advancement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This objective is to be achieved through recent agreements signed between the two parties, which aim to foster the growth of domestic entrepreneurship and facilitate startups' access to market opportunities.
The leaders expressed their commitment to advancing cooperation efforts in this vital sector and building on existing achievements, by successfully completing the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant (BNEP). This plant plays a vital role in generating electricity and providing clean energy to support the UAE’s development.
Economy and Investment
The leaders praised the UAE’s commitment to invest USD 30 billion in South Korea over the coming years. They also reached an agreement to establish efficient mechanisms aligned with mutual government projects and harness the potential of the ambitious investment plan.
Healthcare and medical services
In this regard, the two Presidents emphasized the importance of enhancing mutual cooperation in this vital sector and exchanging expertise and experience.
Water Resources and Smart farming
The leaders recognised the importance of strengthening cooperation and exchanging expertise in water resources management and smart farming to promote sustainable agriculture, in response to implications of climate change. They both agreed to collaborate in the smart farming industry by exchanging techniques and increasing investments across this sector.
New Industries and Smart Infrastructure
Both countries highlighted the importance of deepening cooperation and expanding investment across emerging industries, in support of the transition towards an innovative new economy to further economic development. To this end, the leaders agreed to expand investment cooperation in promising new sectors, notably digital transformation, smart mobility, smart infrastructure, and other relevant industries.
Technology and Communications
The leaders expressed their desire to promote mutual cooperation to increase trade in the ICT sector. They emphasized the significance of organizing reciprocal tradeshows, exchanging information and expertise, and facilitating market access for technology companies. Their aim is to foster joint synergy and promote growth in the ICT industry.
The two sides agreed to further promote space cooperation through knowledge and expertise sharing, and to develop more mutual cooperation opportunities across this vital sector.
The leaders underscored the importance of strengthening bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector and agreed to work towards driving tourism exchange by supporting industry-related startups in both countries. The two sides also decided to implement various mutual projects to extend the results of “K-Travel Week in the UAE” held in May 2023. Furthermore, they discussed mechanisms to augment the number of flights between the two countries in the upcoming phase.
The leaders expressed their desire to expand bilateral cooperation in intellectual property (IP) and agreed to pursue mutual cooperation activities through knowledge and expertise sharing across all IP sectors.
The UAE is South Korea’s second-largest trade partner in the GCC and the Arab regions as of 2022. The UAE-Korean non-oil foreign trade recorded USD 5.3 billion by the end of 2022, a growth of over 14 per cent compared to 2021. During the first two months of 2023, trade exchanges more than USD 917 million. In addition, UAE exports to Korean markets witnessed a growth of 35 per cent (January – February 2023) compared to the same period last year.
In terms of investment, as of early 2021, Korea's investment balance in the UAE reached about USD 2.2 billion across the sectors of finance, insurance, mining, energy, technology, and real estate. UAE investments in South Korea are mainly found in real estate, telecommunications, energy, logistics, and others. UAE investments in Korea are expected to see a qualitative shift after the country announced its plan to invest USD 30 billion over the next phase in sectors related to renewable energy, advanced technology, and other sectors of the new economy.