H.E. Mr. Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and H.E. Sung Yun-mo, South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, inaugurated on Sunday, October 13, 2019, the Qatari-Korean Business Forum that was held in conjunction with the fifth meeting of the high-level strategic cooperation committee between Qatar and Korea in Doha.
In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Al Kuwari said the Qatari-Korean Business Forum presented an important opportunity to consolidate cooperation between the private sectors in both countries and to build successful investment partnerships that serve the shared aspirations and interests of both nations.
H.E. said his country’s partnership with South Korea serves as a model for Qatar’s economic relations worldwide, noting that the two countries have enjoyed an advanced level of bilateral cooperation over four decades. The strength of this relationship has been marked by the exchange of official visits, particularly the visit of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to Seoul this year and the visit of H.E. South Korea’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon to Doha last July.
The growth in Qatari-Korean bilateral trade and investments demonstrate the strength of bilateral economic relations and their promising prospects, H.E. said, noting that South Korea ranks as Qatar’s second-largest trading partner with 15.1 billion US dollars’ worth of traded goods in 2018.
H.E. added that South Korea accounted for 12.95% of Qatar’s total trade volume last year.
Touching on Korean investments in Qatar, H.E. said more than 37 fully owned Korean companies are currently operating in Qatar in the trade, contracting, construction and information technology fields in addition to 140 joint Qatari-Korean firms.
On the other hand, South Korea represents an attractive destination for Qatari investments in vital industries and economic activities, H.E. said, emphasizing Qatar’s keenness to support the economies of its strategic partners and to promote the exchange of expertise in sectors that would serve Qatar’s developmental trends, especially in industrial and technological sectors, which are key contributors to South Korea’s growth and advanced ranking on several international reports.
H.E. praised the progress that experts made during the fifth meeting of the high-level strategic cooperation committee between Qatar and Korea, which contributed to strengthening bilateral cooperation across various fields.
H.E. touched on Qatar’s success in recent years in implementing major development projects, which have cemented its position as one of the region’s most stable, competitive and growth-oriented economies.
Quoting the World Bank’s latest report, H.E. said Qatar’s economy will grow by 3.4% by 2021, driven by higher growth in the services sector as the 2022 FIFA World Cup approaches compared to a constant-price GDP growth rate of 1.43% 2018 when economic activity recovered from the impact of the illegal and unjust blockade imposed on the country since 2017.
H.E. noted that Qatar’s economy has witnessed a significant boost as new national companies went public and more than 823 Qatari companies was established in the field of food production, services and manufacturing industries in addition to the expansion of industrial cities, which will feature 769 industrial land plots as work continues to complete 337 projects in the manufacturing sector and create promising investment opportunities in non-oil sectors.
These positive indicators are the result of economic policies implemented in accordance with the objectives of the Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022, H.E. said, noting that Qatar has attached great importance to supporting the private sector in line with its belief that it plays a key role in promoting competitiveness and economic diversification.
H.E. explained that Qatar has begun to fast-track the implementation of measures aimed at supporting the private sector by offering public-private partnership projects and establishing incentive programs to attract foreign direct investments.
In this context, Qatar has developed business legislations and regulations to allow foreign investors up to 100% ownership in all economic and commercial activities, H.E. said, adding that Qatar has allowed non-Qatari investors and companies to invest in the strategic real estate sector and own properties in several vital economic and tourism areas across the country.
H.E. added that Qatar has recently approved a draft law regulating public and private partnerships with the aim of offering new opportunities to the private sector and involving companies in the implementation, construction, financing and operation of the state’s various facilities.
H.E. said Qatar has also streamlined procedures and regulations for the issuance of commercial and industrial licenses and the development of key e-services including the launch of the Single Window Initiative, which allows investors to establish companies in Qatar anytime and wherever they are based around the world. Qatar has also established an advanced network of free zones, and logistics and industrial area that meet all investors’ needs.
H.E. concluded his remarks, expressing hope that the forum will incentivize businessmen to enhance joint cooperation and take advantage of the positive investment climate to establish strategic projects that will benefit both nations.
H.E. Mr. Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari and H.E. Mr. Sung Yun-mo attended the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Qatar-based Mada Centre and the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) to promote cooperation in the field of assistive technology.
The MoU was signed by Ms. Maha Al Mansouri, CEO of Mada Centre, and Mr. Kim Sang Mok, Executive Vice President for Economic and Trade Affairs at the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency.
The MoU aims to promote cooperation between the two institutions in developing innovative products relating to digital access and assistive technology, with Mada providing space to showcase Korean innovations, as well as promoting and adopting the latest technologies. The MoU is also part of Mada’s work with various partners and innovators to develop an integrated system to support technological solutions that promote digital access for people with disabilities and the elderly.
The forum was attended by H.E Sheikh Dr. Khalid Bin Thani Al Thani, Second Deputy to the Chairman of the Qatari Businessmen Association, H.E. Mohammed Bin Ahmed Bin Towar Al Kuwari, First Vice Chairman of Qatar Chamber, and Mr. Kim Jun-dong, Executive Vice Chairman of The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with a number of businessmen, investors, executives and representatives of major Qatari and Korean companies from various industries.
The forum featured two panel discussions. The first panel touched on bilateral investment opportunities. The panel brought together H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Alwaleed Al-Thani, CEO of the Investment Promotion Agency, Mr. Abdullah Al Majed from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Mr. Yousef Mohammed Al Jaidah, CEO of the Qatar Financial Centre, Mr. Khalid Abdullah Al Mana, Executive Director of the Business Finance at Qatar Development Bank, Mr. Hamad Al Mohannadi, Director of Business Development at the Qatar Free Zones Authority, and Mr. Abdulaziz Nasser Al Yafei, Head of Operations at Mwani Qatar, along with a representative of the Korean Maritime Institute, who discussed maritime cooperation between the two countries.
The second panel touched on promising opportunities. The panel brought together Ms. Iman Al-Kuwari, a programmer at the Digital Society, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Dr. Fathi Filali from Qatar Science and Technology Park, and Mr. Hassan Al-Emadi, Senior Business Accounts Manager at Ooredoo. Discussions touched on artificial intelligence and smart cities and their important contribution to business development over the last decade.
On the Korean side, Mr. Jeong Jaeok of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, Mr. Kwon Taekrayon of the Department of Rural Development, Mr. Bum Won Taek of the National Agency for the Promotion of the Information Technology, and Mr. Lee Han Joo, head of the Kuwait Office at the Korea Land and Housing Foundation, discussed mechanism to promote industrial cooperation between Qatar and Korea in various fields relating to the fourth industrial revolution, smart agriculture in South Korea, e-learning and the applications of smart cities in Korea.
The forum also featured bilateral meetings between Qatari and Korean businessmen, during which they reviewed investment opportunities in both countries and discussed efforts to build long-term economic cooperation mechanisms.
The Qatari-Korean Business Forum aims to enhance trade, investment and industrial cooperation and enhance communication prospects between representatives of the Qatari and Korean private sectors to establish investment projects that align with the interests of the both countries