South Korea on Friday launched a council involving both government and private sectors meant to jointly seek ways to promote corporate advancement into the Middle East, the industry ministry said.
The council on the Korea-Middle East economic and trade cooperation will discuss how to actively participate in various projects by Korean firms in the region and boost cooperation with the countries there in energy and such new industry sectors as bio and games, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The government plans to send a delegation to the Middle East this year for talks on bilateral trade and investment based on the results of council discussions, it added.
Friday's inaugural meeting brought together executives of major energy and construction firms, as well as associations of bio and hydrogen sectors, including Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Doosan Enerbility Co., Samsung C&T Corp. and SK Bioscience Co.
"It is needed to enhance economic ties with the Middle East as a way to prop up our dwindling exports amid the prolonged war surrounding Ukraine and global supply chain disruptions," Deputy Trade Minister Jeong Dae-jin said.
In August, South Korea's exports rose 6.6 percent on-year and sales in the Middle East combined grew 7.8 percent on-year to $1.34 billion. But high global energy prices caused the country to suffer a record high monthly trade deficit of $9.47 billion, government data showed.
Of major projects in the Middle East, South Korea seeks the active participation in Saudi Arabia's NEOM project where it is building a new city to make it a hub for smart city technologies and a major tourist destination. (Yonhap)