South Korea’s Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation holds its opening ceremony on December 7, appointing CJ Korea Express President and CEO Park Geun-tae as its first chairman. More than 100 local private and public companies, such as Samsung, Hyundai and SK, are scheduled to join the committee’s council for cooperation between South Korean and Russian companies.
These days, the two countries are planning to expand their cooperation in the energy sector. For example, the Russian government recently asked the Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) to invest in gas fields in Sakhalin and the Arctic Ocean so that South Korea’s annual natural gas imports from Russia can be increased from 1.5 million tons to five million tons. The KOGAS is positive about the proposal in that the natural gas from Russia is highly attractive in terms of transport cost and time.
In the meantime, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering is planning to form a strategic investment partnership with Novatek, a Russian gas company, through stock exchange. Likewise, the CJ Group is going to increase the number of the screens of its CGV movie theaters in Russia to 400 and Lotte Hotel is planning to build a new hotel in Vladivostok.
At present, the total international trade volume of South Korea amounts to US$1 trillion a year. However, that between South Korea and Russia stands at approximately US$10 billion a year. The volume is expected to be boosted once the council begins to work in earnest.