Korea hails Sultanate’s development strategy

MUSCAT: The political stability witnessed by the Sultanate has come through the adoption of balanced diplomacy and economic diversification through five-year plans since 1976 followed by Oman 2020 Vision and Oman Vision 2040, said Lee Nak-yeon, Prime Minister of South Korea. Speaking at the Omani-Korean Business Forum on Wednesday, he hailed the National Development Strategy adopted by Oman since the accession of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos to the throne. He said the Sultanate is one of the exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Korea, which has helped the country diversify its economy.

He pointed at the possibility of joint cooperation in the areas of information technology, smart cities, health, medical care, industries and fisheries in the future. The prime minister of South Korea called upon businessmen of both countries to join hands and benefit from the investment and economic opportunities in the fields of petrochemicals, railways, solar power and smart cities as the Sultanate seeks to develop these areas and diversify its economy. Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, described the Sultanate’s trade relations with South Korea as “old” as these relations focus on cooperation and partnership primarily in oil, gas, petrochemical and logistics sectors.

He said the Sultanate is witnessing the implementation of new solar power projects with the help of South Korea. The minister expressed hope that the businessmen meeting of the two countries will move on to wider fields, especially in the area of knowledge economy. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishment of smart cities in the economic zone of Al Duqm. He said the transformation of the Special Economic Zone into a smart city will gain the Sultanate “new experiences” and open the doors to local and international companies, including Korean firms, as there may be similar initiatives for other economic projects in Suhar, Salalah, Sur and others under design/implementation such as Al Irfan City in Muscat and Logistics City ‘Khazaen’ in South Al Batinah.

Qais bin Mohammed al Yousuf, Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), said: “Statistics indicate that the trade exchange between the two countries reached RO 1 billion by the end of 2017. Omani imports from Korea represent RO 225 million and Omani exports RO 844 million.” Mohammed bin Salim al Harthy, Sultanate’s Ambassador to South Korea, said: “The visit of the Korean delegation comes within the framework of strengthening relations between the two friendly countries and enhancing areas of cooperation, expansion and deepening of broader horizons covering various sectors and fields, including logistics, industries, health, medical care, tourism, education, research, development and innovation.”

The Omani-Korea Business Forum, organised by the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its Korean counterpart, sought to introduce businessmen and businesswomen in the two countries to investment opportunities and trade exchange on both sides as well as enhancing communication, building business relations and exploring the possibility of strategic partnerships to increase investment and business activities between the two countries. During the forum, video presentations were screened on the current five-year plan and the possibilities offered by economic zones, free zones, ports and airports and complementary services.

The investment opportunities were reviewed in promising economic sectors in the Sultanate, especially tourism, manufacturing, fisheries, logistics, auto parts industry, electronics industry, accessories, etc. The forum was attended by ministers, under-secretaries, officials and businessmen from both countries. Korean companies participating in the forum are specialised in the fields of engineering, construction, maritime trade, energy, heavy industry, telecommunications, innovation among others. — ONA