UAE plans to invest $30bn in South Korea over next few years

The Emirates is keen to deepen its economic, trade and investment ties with the Asian nation

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, met his South Korean counterpart Dukgeun Ahn in Dubai to explore joint investment opportunities. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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The UAE plans to invest up to $30 billion in South Korea over the next few years as the Arab world’s second-biggest economy looks to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties with the Asian nation.

The two countries are also exploring joint investment opportunities in priority fields including trade, industry, real estate, insurance, health, technology, digital transformation and food security, the UAE Ministry of Economy said in a statement on Wednesday.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, met his South Korean counterpart Dukgeun Ahn in Dubai. He underlined the need to further strengthen strategic partnership with South Korea and expand it to priority sectors of the economy.

The latest meeting is “yet another step forward in elevating our trade and investment partnership to new heights”, Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

“We are keen to work closely with our partners in South Korea to boost trade co-operation in various sectors that offer promising opportunities for the future.”

The trade and economic relations between the UAE and South Korea have grown consistently over the years. Non-oil trade between the two countries totalled about Dh19.5 billion ($5.3 billion) in 2022, up 14 per cent from 2021, the minister said.

“The UAE exports to South Korea grew by 17.5 per cent last year to exceed $2.8 billion, while our re-exports to South Korea totalled $1.3 billion,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

Foreign direct investment in the UAE from South Korean companies reached $2.2 billion at the start of 2021, a 73 per cent rise from 2013 levels. These investments are mostly concentrated in finance, insurance, mining, retail, real estate, transportation, energy and technology sectors, the ministry said.

The UAE is keen to deepen its investment and economic ties with its trading partners across the globe.

The UAE is working towards signing 26 Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements as it seeks to diversify its economy, Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq said this month.

The Emirates has already signed deals with India, Indonesia, Israel and Turkey.

It is also in negotiations with Cambodia, Georgia, Vietnam and Ukraine, in addition to other nations.

These agreements aim to support the UAE's goal to double the size of its economy to Dh3 trillion by 2030.

In January this year, South Korea and the UAE signed several deals across sectors including hydrogen, water resources, space co-operation and transport sectors.

Mubadala Investment Company and the Korea Development Bank also announced a “sovereign investment partnership” and an agreement on financial co-operation between Taqa and the Export-Import Bank of Korea, state agency Wam reported at the time.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc, also signed a strategic energy partnership between the countries with South Korean Energy Minister Li Chang-Yang.

On Wednesday, the two sides agreed to enhance efforts to implement the initial agreements signed between the UAE Ministry of Economy and the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Updated: March 16, 2023, 1:10 PM