Korea-Bahrain Business Forum a platform to deepen joint economic relations: Industry Minister

Manama, The Republic of Korean Embassy to Bahrain has organsied the fifth Korea-Bahrain Business Forum, in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC), the Economic Development Board (EDB), the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the Bahraini-Korean Friendship Society in Bahrain.

Addressing the opening session, Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce, said that the "forum serves as a unique platform to promote bilateral trade and investment opportunities between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Republic of South Korea, further strengthening and developing the economic cooperation between our two great nations."

"Relations between Bahrain and Korea have grown steadily in various fields over the past few years, and this event represents a significant milestone in our journey towards deeper collaboration- we stand here today to build upon those achievements and explore new horizons of cooperation," he added.

Referring to the recent visit of a Bahraini official business delegation to Seoul in May 2023, he affirmed that it was a "resounding success and an eye-opener to the immense potential for investment and trade opportunities between our nations."

"The delegation was able to collect first-hand information about the technological advancements, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit that define the Korean business landscape. On the Government side, we were able to sign several very important MoU’s and agreements to further strengthen the bonds of cooperation and collaboration, laying the foundation stronger trade and investment cooperation," he said.

"The success of the Bahraini business delegation’s visit reflected a mutual desire to forge a closer partnership and widen the scope of bilateral investment. We have recognised the immense potential that lies in leveraging our strengths and expertise. Bahrain offers a strategic location, a business-friendly environment, and a well-diversified economy. On the other hand, Korea is a global leader in various industries, including technology, manufacturing, and innovation. By combining our strengths, we can create a win-win situation that will benefit both nations," he added.

The Industry and Commerce Minister expressed hope that the 5th Korea-Bahrain Business Forum would "build upon the momentum generated by the official delegation's visit. It will be an opportunity for dialogue, knowledge exchange, and networking, enabling us to explore new areas of cooperation and identify potential investment opportunities. It is through such collaborative efforts that we can foster economic growth, create high quality job opportunities, and enhance the well-being of our people."

Minister Fakhro concluded his speech by affirming that the Bahraini-Korean relationship "extends beyond trade and investment. We share deep-rooted cultural, social, and historical ties that bind us and enjoy a long-term partnership built on trust, respect, and mutual understanding."

HeonSang Koo, South Korean Ambassador to Bahrain, also addressed the opening session of the 5th Korea-Bahrain Business Forum.

He stressed the importance of the Business Forum, noting that since 2017, it has served as a "special annual occasion to bring together business communities of the two countries and jointly seek promising areas of future cooperation."

He indicated that "this year’s Forum is even more special as the two countries showed strong mutual determination to expand economic partnership. All key economic authorities in Bahrain, such as MoIC, EDB and Bahrain Chamber, are participating to make the Forum yet another success story."

Regarding the presence of Korean companies in Bahrain, he pointed out that "since 2011, there have been 57 projects in Bahrain where 17 Korean companies worked on. There are the extended partnerships between key governmental institutions like the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) and major Korean companies like Hyundai, Samsung and others. Currently, we have the BAPCO modernisation project, with Samsung Engineering working on it, as well the ongoing projects in the ICT, health and commerce sectors. All of them also took part in the Forum today."

"There is a high potential since bilateral trade volume is steadily growing and new projects such as Bahrain Metro and the second Causeway will stir interest of Korean companies to pursue," he added.

Concerning areas of further development of bilateral economic cooperation, he asserted that "ICT and healthcare sectors are potential areas since the two countries have similar policy directions to invest in healthcare sector and enhance Digital economies. It is against this backdrop that today’s Forum shed light on those two areas. Government agencies such as HIRA and KOTRA, leading tech companies such as NAVER Cloud Corp and LG CNS and other promising companies in AI and healthcare attended the event."

Concluding his statement, the South Korean Ambassador said: "I see growing opportunities in energy sector. Of course, the bilateral cooperation with regard to energy sector has been strong. As the governments of Korea and Bahrain pursue policy goals to develop eco-friendly economies, I believe new and renewable energy like solar energy and hydrogen beyond conventional energy sources can be another promising area. We have diverse Korean companies that are highly renowned in the world with their innovative technologies."

Sameer Abdulla Nass, BCCI Chairman, Khalid Humaidan, EDB Chief Executive Officer, and Ahmed bin Hindi Al Mannai, Bahraini-Korean Friendship Society Chairman also delivered statements in which they stressed the importance of the ongoing economic partnership between the two countries, and ways to deepen bilateral cooperation.

Attendees also included the representatives of Korean governmental entities, such as the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), in addition to those of ICT companies, namely NAVER, Cloud Corp and LG CNS, as well as those specialised in the field of artificial intelligence, medical services, food and beauty industries.

The 5th Korea-Bahrain Business Forum featured a presentation highlighting the successful visit of the Bahraini business delegation to South Kore in May this year.

The participants also discussed ways to explore new opportunities for joint cooperation, especially in the fields of information and communication technology (ICT) and health.

Source: Bahrain News Agency