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Corporate Korea pins high hopes on $30b UAE investment

Nuclear power, aerospace, biotech considered key beneficiaries of planned funding

President & CEO of Korea National Oil Corp. Kim Dong-sub poses for a picture at a ceremony of signing a memorandum of understanding held on Sunday at the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Yonhap)
President & CEO of Korea National Oil Corp. Kim Dong-sub poses for a picture at a ceremony of signing a memorandum of understanding held on Sunday at the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Yonhap)

South Korea's high-tech industries such as nuclear power plant operators, mobility, aerospace, materials and parts and biotechnologies are expected to benefit heavily from United Arab Emirates' 30 billion dollars’ worth of investment, according to industry insiders Monday.

According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Sunday held a meeting, during which the two leaders signed total of 43 memorandums of understanding for the UAE sovereign wealth fund to invest in Korean companies.

The presidential office explained that investment will be evenly invested in four industries which consist of domestic nuclear power plants, defense, energy and investment.

Among domestic companies, SK Group is considered one of the key beneficiaries of the UAE investment, as its Chairman Chey Tae-won, who accompanied President Yoon on his state visit to the UAE, signed a memorandum of understanding with Al Mubarak, the chief executive officer and managing director of Mubadala Investment Company.

The MOU centered on investing in carbon trading platforms, establishing and operating carbon reduction certification centers and developing carbon reduction technologies through the establishment of a joint consultative body.

State-run Korea Electric Power and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power are also beneficiaries of the investment, as they signed MOU with Mubadala Investment for the companies' establishment of net zero supply chain across Asian regions and acceleration of small modular reactor technology development.

Korea National Oil also gained priority for acquisition of crude oil supply during emergencies, by signing MOU with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. The agreement further involved Korea National Oil storing crude oil supply at Yeosu base.

MOUs were also held to specify the direction of future investment cooperation.

Korea Development Bank signed a strategic investment partnership MOU with Mubadala, in a bid to push for the signing of additional agreements, with the goal of promoting joint investment in promising domestic companies.

The government expects this to promote investment in industries in the biopharmaceutical sectors, high-tech manufacturing industries such as semiconductors and batteries.

In terms of finance, the Export-Import Bank of Korea signed a MOU with the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA).

It decided to push for the signing of a basic loan agreement with TAQA to enable rapid financial support when Korean companies win related projects.

The basic loan agreement is an agreement procedure that speeds up financial support by confirming financial support conditions such as major suppliers, support limits, and procedures in advance.

The government also decided to discuss with the UAE government a plan to hold the Korea-UAE Joint Economic Committee, a ministerial-level regular economic cooperation channel between the two countries, in Seoul in the first half of this year.

"The government plans to help private companies participate in the (teamwork with UAE) to share investment information and sign partnerships," said an official from the Ministry of Finance.

The meeting was attended by a slew of Korean business moguls, including Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun. They were among the chairmen of 100 South Korean companies who attended the Sunday meeting, which was held between President Yoon and his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed.

Doosan Enerbility Chairman Park Gee-won, HD Hyundai President Chung Ki-sun and GS Energy Chief Executive Officer Huh Yong-soo were also among the leaders who joined the MOU meeting.

By Lee Yoon-seo (
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Korea Herald daum