A large number of South Korean companies will participate in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 project to promote its seven major industries.
South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Joo Hyung-hwan visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from April 3 to 4 (local time) and held discussions with Khaled Al-Faleh, minister of energy, industry and mineral resources, Adel M. Fakeih, minister of economy and planning and Majed Al-Qassabi, commerce and investment minister..
The Vision 2030 is a project announced by the Saudi Arabian government in April last year to promote new growth engines and create jobs in order to diversify its industries from oil.
South Korea has been selected as one of the strategic partner countries to realize the Vision 2030. Accordingly, the two countries will work together to promote seven industries, including shipbuilding, car, petrochemical, new renewable energy, defense, old facilities improvement and seawater desalination plant.
In the shipbuilding sector, Hyundai Heavy Industries will jointly establish a shipyard and a marine engine plant with the world’s largest oil and gas company Aramco. Ssangyong Motor will produce complete knock down (CKD) cars in Saudi Arabia and help domestic partner companies enter the local market.
SK Global Chemical will jointly build a plant producing high value-added polyethylene with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC). In the remainder sectors, the two countries will set up joint factories.
Minister Joo asked Saudi Arabia to relax the nation’s citizen employment system and regulations on foreign investment in the defense sector in a bid to easy to make a joint investment. In this regard, the Saudi Arabian government said, “Considering the importance of South Korea as a strategic partner country, we will consider deregulation.”
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also suggested to begin the preliminary talks to create the base for free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations. Saudi Arabia said, “We strongly support the FTA between South Korea and the GCC. We will discuss the issue with other GCC member countries.” The GCC is a regional political organization comprising six oil producing countries on the Persian Gulf – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
During the visit, Joo also met Aramco President Amin H. Nasser and asked him to order for South Korea. Aramco currently pushes ahead with two projects worth US$5 billion (5.69 trillion won) – Haradh and Hawiyah gas plants worth US$4 billion (4.56 trillion won) and Jubail thermal power plant worth US$1 billion (1.14 trillion won). Amin H. Nasser said, “We welcome South Korean companies taking parts in bids for the projects.”