Islamabad: Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Mr. Chung Hongwon along with a high level delegation met Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Monday at the PM House. Dr. Song Jong-hwan Korean Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Cho Taeyul vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Han Jinhyun vice Minister for Trade and Energy from the Korean side and Engineer Khurram Dastagir Minister for Commerce, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal Minister for Planning, Mr. Sartaj Aziz Advisor to PM on National Security, Syed Tariq Fatmi Special Assistant To PM from the Pakistani side attended the meeting.
PM said that Pakistan is happy to witness the progress and development of the Republic of Korea and we are interested to learn from Korean experience.
Moreover, the two governments must promote interaction and cooperation between their private sectors and regular interaction between respective Boards of Investment, and Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said the PM.
While discussing the economic prospects, PM Nawaz Sharif said that it is heartening to note that trade between our two countries reached US$ 1.6 billion in 2012. Pakistan has proposed a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that covers trade, investment and services so that trade between the two countries could be further enhanced, PM added.
PM Nawaz Sharif appreciated the ‘Joint Business Forum’ organized by KOTRA (Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency) and Board of Investment, Pakistan, on the sidelines of this visit and expressed hope that as an outcome of the ‘Business Forum’; the Korean companies would be engaged in the Energy, Infrastructure Development, Railways and Telecommunication sectors.
PM stressed upon the need of preparing a Country Partnership Strategy between the two countries for the next three years (2013-15). The Lahore – Islamabad Motorway bears testimony to the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries and we want to replicate and enhance such cooperation in other fields, added PM Nawaz Sharif.
PM Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan offers huge opportunities to the Korean business companies in energy generation including hydel, wind, solar, biomass and coal generation and we would appreciate if Korean companies participate in initiatives such as Gaddani Power Park and Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park.
PM said that construction of off-shore and on-shore LNG terminals also offer investment opportunities to Korean companies and Pakistan would welcome and facilitate Korean capital and technology in these sectors.
PM said that the Free Economic Zone along the China-Pak economic Corridor also offers investment opportunities to Korean investors. In this Economic Zone, Korean SME’s can establish JVs in manufacturing sector to cater for a large and growing domestic market as well as, Korean and regional markets, PM added.
PM invited Korean financial institutions to start their operations in Pakistan adding that opening of a branch of Korean bank in Pakistan would boost business between the two countries.
Cooperation in science & technology, bio-engineering, information technology, and exchange of human resources and other areas of common interest with Korea were also discussed. PM thanked the Korean government for looking after 900 Pakistani students and expressed the hope for increasing further scholarships being offered to Pakistani students.
Korean Prime Minister thanked PM Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, government and people of Pakistan for extending warm welcome during his visit. Mr. Chung Hongwon said that Pakistan and Korea should expand their trade, economy and energy sectors and enhance bilateral relations by increasing personnel exchanges in the private sector. Views were also exchanged on regional and international issues.
Earlier the Two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of MOU between the Pakistan and Korea on Trade, Industry and Energy.
The MOU was signed by Mr. Muhammad Shahzad Arbab Secretary Commerce from Pakistani side and Mr. Han Jinhun vice Minister for Trade and Energy form Korean side.
Before the Delegation level talks, the two PMs held one-to-one meeting. While welcoming the Korean PM, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that we are very happy to host you as the first ever Korean Prime Minister to visit Pakistan since the establishment of our diplomatic relations 31 years ago.
It is my government’s resolve to strengthen and expand relations with the Republic of Korea in all fields, added the PM. Prime Minister said that the traditional cordial relationship between Pakistan and the Republic of Korea needs to be transformed into a substantive partnership in trade, investment, energy and infrastructure.
Later PM hosted a lunch in honour of the visiting delegation.