The Korea Herald


Korea partners with UAE for hydrogen economy

Industry ministry chiefs exchange ideas on hydrogen trade policies and technologies

By Kim Byung-wook

Published : March 4, 2021 - 15:57

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South Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo delivers a keynote speech during the 2019 Korea Hydrogen Expo at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul on June 19, 2019. (Yonhap) South Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo delivers a keynote speech during the 2019 Korea Hydrogen Expo at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul on June 19, 2019. (Yonhap)

South Korea signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to cooperate on the hydrogen economy, further expanding their partnership currently focused on nuclear energy, oil and gas.

During the Korea-UAE Industry and Energy Cooperation Forum held online, South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Al Jaber inked a memorandum of understanding to share hydrogen trade regulations and policies and establish a cooperation channel between two parties’ hydrogen economy promotion agencies -- H2Korea and Hydrogen Alliance.

“Korea is pushing for the ‘Green New Deal’ initiative, recently establishing a hydrogen roadmap and the world’s first hydrogen law. As the UAE is pursuing ‘Energy Strategy 2050,’ (the agreement) will allow both parties to strengthen their partnership in the new energy sector including hydrogen,” Sung said.

The two industry ministers also discussed further partnership in digital health and bio industries as well as smart manufacturing, e-commerce and artificial intelligence, according to Korea’s industry ministry. Also, the ministers will take turns to hold a strategic meeting every two years.

Heads of eight Korean companies -- GS Caltex, GS Energy, Hanwha Solutions, Samsung Engineering, SK Engineering & Construction, Lotte Chemical, Korea National Oil Corp. and H2Korea -- participated in the forum’s CEO roundtable session. They discussed the sustainable development of hydrogen fuel cells with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and shared ideas on renewable energy and climate change issues with Masdar Clean Energy, a global developer and operator of utility-scale renewable energy projects.

According to the industry ministry, Korea’s goods and services trade with the UAE stood at $9.4 billion as of last year. The UAE is Korea’s 21st largest trading partner.

Also, to celebrate the completion of the Barakah nuclear power plant this year -- the UAE’s first nuclear power station and Korea’s first case of nuclear power plant export -- Sun Yun-mo established the “Nuclear Power Plant Export Advisory Committee” to double down on export activities in countries including the Czech Republic and Poland.

“As Korea is getting closer to winning nuclear power plant contracts overseas including Czech, and to respond to the growing attention for small and mid-sized nuclear power plants in the foreign market, the committee has been formed to strengthen nuclear power plant export system and to support the export activities of nuclear power plant parts manufacturing companies,” an industry ministry official said.

Along with committee, the industry ministry launched a website (, where foreign customers and buyers can access the information of nuclear power plant parts manufactured by Korean companies.

“With the establishment of the committee, public and private sectors will be able to work together with full force for the export of Korean nuclear power plants,” said Joo Young-joon, deputy minister for energy and resources.

By Kim Byung-wook (