ISLAMABAD: South Korean Ambassador Suh Dong-gu has expressed his country’s keenness to further enhance cooperation with Pakistan in hydroelectric power generation, infrastructure development and other sectors since Pakistan is a rising economy.
Suh was talking to the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Friday.
He said some Korean companies had already completed two to three hydroelectric power projects and were participating in the construction of a few more projects in Pakistan.
He said Korean companies were also cooperating with Pakistan in infrastructure development including the building of Loweri Tunnel which would be completed by the middle of next year.
The ambassador also pointed out that Pakistan and Korea were in the process of negotiating a free trade agreement. “Feasibility studies have been completed and both countries are now preparing recommendations,” he said.
He believed the FTA would bring a paradigm shift in bilateral trade and provide better market access to Pakistani products in Korea.
For the past few years, Pakistan’s exports to Korea had been on the decline and the envoy stressed that Islamabad should focus on value-added products to improve trade volumes.
He announced that Korea was willing to cooperate with Pakistan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects by providing heavy construction equipment and machinery.
Welcoming the envoy, ICCI President Khalid Iqbal Malik said bilateral trade of around $1.2 billion was dismal and emphasised that both countries should focus on improving it.
He said the trade balance was heavily tilted in favour of Korea, which should provide easy market access to Pakistani products for a better balance.
Malik added that Korea’s annual imports were around $500 billion with 60% raw material, 30% plants and machinery and 10% customer goods like fruits, automobiles, textile and clothing.
Pakistan, he said, had the potential to meet Korea’s needs for raw material, fruits, textiles and garments.