Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan, Korea needed: Envoy

KARACHI: Ambassador of Korea, Song Jong-Hwan, while expressing concern over decreasing trade volume between Pakistan and Korea since 2012, opined that absence of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries and lack of proper understanding of each other’s markets were the two main possible reasons of this decline.

Exchanging views during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he added that Korean-Pakistan trade after touching the two-way trade volume at 1.6 billion dollars in 2012 has decreased by 27 percent to 1.17 billion dollars in 2014, which was a matter of serious concern and needs urgent attention, considering Pakistan’s potential and Korea’s trade volume of one trillion dollars with the rest of the world.

At KCCI, the Korean Ambassador was accompanied by Consul General of Korea Mr. Kim Dong-gi, Minister-Counsellor Choi Suyoung, Economic Affairs Officer Na Minhong, Director KOTRA Mr. Son Soo Youn, C.E.O. & President Kyung-In Synthetic Corporation Korea Mr. Cho Sung-yong, Director PEXIMP( local agent of KISCO) Mr. Mohammad Pervez and Managing Partner PEXIMP Mr. Salim Vali Mohammad.

President KCCI Younus Mohammad Bashir, Senior Vice President KCCI Zia Ahmed Khan, Former SVPs KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo and Mohammad Ibrahim Kasumbi along with KCCI Managing Committee members were present at the meeting.

Referring to Korean Prime Minister’s visit to Pakistan in mid-April 2014 during which both sides agreed to explore possibilities of FTA between the two countries, he recalled that Federal Minister for Commerce also visited Korea in July 2015 and during the said visit, an agreement for joint feasibility study on FTA was inked between the two research institutes of Korea and Pakistan with mandate to complete this study within a year.

The Korean Ambassador further underscored the need for Business to Business matchmaking and networking which were most essential to capture the real trade potential in two emerging markets. “In this regard, exchange of business delegations can play a vital role to increase trade volume. Pakistan’s business delegations’ participation in the trade related expos in Korea and similarly Korean businessmen’s participation into Pakistan’s business events such as Expo Pakistan in Karachi and BOI International investment Conference in Islamabad would be meaningful to revive the two-way trade volume”, he added.

He assured round-the-clock support to Karachi Chamber by the Korean Embassy, Korean Consulate in Karachi and Korean Investment & Trade Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in order to promote trade and business between the two countries.

Earlier, while welcoming the Korean Ambassador, President KCCI Younus Mohammad Bashir stated that KCCI was keen to strengthen trade ties and exploring new bilateral trade prospects with Korea as Pakistan’s improved relations and enhanced trade with countries like Korea would surely help in dealing with the ongoing economic crisis being faced by the country.

Commenting on trade ties between the two countries, President KCCI noted that the bilateral trade between the Pakistan and Korea stood at around $1 billion. During Fiscal Year 2015, Pakistan’s total exports to Korea stood at $336.42 million whereas Pakistan’s imports from Korea were $672.68 million.

He said that Pakistan has also offered Korea to establish a dedicated Special Economic Zone for Korean investors in Pakistan which, if established, would surely prove favourable for the two countries.

“We want to promote Korean investment in Pakistan and do everything for the development of Pakistan-Korean business cooperation”, Younus Bashir said, “Efforts must be made to enhance linkages between KCCI and its counterpart chambers in Korea in order to pave way for improved trade relations between the two countries.”

President KCCI invited the Korean companies to participate in 13th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony exhibition scheduled to be organized in the month of March next year. This three-day long event is regularly being organized since 2004 which is attended by around 1 million visitors every year. My Karachi will provide an excellent opportunity to Korean businessmen and industrialists to showcase their products and create strong linkages with the business community of Karachi by holding B2B meetings in a cordial atmosphere, he added.



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