The Federation of GCC Chambers have called upon South Korea to make use of the huge investment prospects worth $ 2.54 trillion in the GCC countries, especially in the vital sectors of oil & gas, petrochemicals, water and electricity, real estate, and tourism.
Abdul Rahim Hassan Naqi, secretary-general of the federation, also stressed the importance of developing trade and economic ties between GCC countries and South Korea. The volume of trade exchange between the two sides exceeded $ 112 billion in 2012, he said.
In a statement at the conclusion of a GCC Investment Forum in Seoul, Naqi estimated the value of investment projects in oil, gas, and petrochemicals at $ 255 billion, manufacturing industry $ 620 billion, electricity and water $ 360 billion, real estate $ 915 billion and tourism and insurance of $ 385 billion.
"Cooperation between GCC private sectors and South Korea can be expanded through constant communication between the Korean Federation and FGCCC by organizing visits of business delegations, staging exhibitions and providing information on investment and trade prospects," he said.
He also stressed the importance accelerating bilateral negotiations to reach a free trade agreement between the two sides.
The forum, which was attended by more than 200 delegates including government officials and business leaders as well as representatives of Korean and GCC countries companies, would go a long way in strengthening cooperation between the two sides.
During the opening session, Director of Cooperation at the Korean Ministry of Trade and Energy Toh Qiang Hewan, stated that trade and economic relations and the allocation of major GCC projects to Korean companies in the seventies of the last century have contributed to the development of Korean economy.
The forum discussed prospects of expanding cooperation in trade, construction, infrastructure, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, as well as information and communication technology, financial and cultural structure in the GCC countries and South Korea in addition to cooperation in developing small and medium enterprises in the GCC.
"FGCCC took part in the Seoul exhibition in order to give Korean companies and investors an idea about the various incentives being offered by GCC states for foreign investors," Naqi said.
South Korea is the GCC's second biggest Asian trading partner after China, with bilateral trade between Korea and the GCC rising to $ 112 billion last year.
With the economic uncertainty still weighing down on Western and European countries, there has been a shift in investment from the Gulf region, which is home to some of world's largest sovereign wealth funds, to Asia. The amount of trade to Asian countries, except Japan, rose by a whopping 87 percent in just two years time from 2009 to 2011.
Ahin Hyun, chairman of Korea International Trade Association, stressed the importance of the GCC Forum, saying it would strengthen existing relations and push it to advanced levels in the coming years. He noted the ambitious plans adopted by GCC countries in various industrial and energy fields. "South Korea is among the largest importers of GCC oil," he pointed out.