Dubai set as benchmark for economic development in Seoul



His Excellency Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman represents Dubai in Seoul’s International Business Advisory Council, South Korea

The Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), His Excellency Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, told the Seoul International Business Advisory Council (SIBAC) that they could look to Dubai and the UAE as a key trade partner to help both financial hubs prosper in the future. Dr. Omar addressed SIBAC in his key note speech at the organisation’s annual meeting in Seoul, South Korea.

SIBAC is an important advisory body established to advise the Seoul Metropolitan Government on a range of issues, including the development of Seoul as a major business hub in northeast Asia. SIBAC sees Dubai as the ideal benchmark, having established itself as a highly credible destination for investment and financial services, with a reputation for modern technology and infrastructure. His Excellency was invited as a representative of Dubai to talk about its internationally acclaimed success.

The UAE and South Korea have enjoyed strong business relations in recent years. DP World holds a 25% stake in South Korea’s Pusan container terminal and was in talks about participating in Gwangyang ports. South Korean firms have secured export orders worth US$8.7bn into the UAE in 2005, up 222% from US$2.7bn in 2004. The UAE is South Korea’s second largest supplier of crude oil, having shipped 150 million barrels of oil in 2005. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) now hopes to use South Korea as an oil storage centre to supply oil throughout Asia, much as South Korea’s chaebol’s (business conglomerates) have used Dubai to penetrate the Middle East. The two countries’ bilateral trade is today worth more than US$12.7bn.

South Korea has also played a part in the construction of modern Dubai. Both Hyundai and Samsung have won multibillion dollar contracts to participate in prestigious projects, such as the world’s tallest tower, Burj Dubai. South Korean companies are also involved in Dubai Silicon Oasis and Ubiquitous City projects.

Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of DIFC, said: “I was delighted to accept the invitation from Oh, Se Hoon, the Mayor of Seoul to give the keynote address to the Seoul International Business Advisory Council. Seoul is on its way to projecting itself as a business hub for northeast Asia and I truly admire the ambition of Oh, Se Hoon and the Seoul International Business Advisory Council as they push forward to achieve their goal. I have first-hand experience of the hard work, effort, and subsequent reward involved in building a major financial centre, and we are certainly seeing our endeavours in Dubai pay off. Yet what has been achieved in Dubai and Seoul thus far is just the tip of the iceberg, since both countries have not reached the peak of their development and have yet to reach their full potential. Partnerships with progressive countries like South Korea have been key to Dubai’s success. The UAE Government strongly supports the development of closer trade links with South Korea. and I look forward to the growth of this relationship, enabling the two countries to further build their economies.”

Oh, Se Hoon, Mayor of Seoul, commented: ”The council members of SIBAC have provided us with invaluable suggestions and proposals on topics such as 'What Makes a Financial Service Center,' 'Seoul as a Regional Hub,' and 'Seoul - the Alternative Choice' to make Seoul an international business city. To help Seoul join the ranks of the world's top ten business and cultural cities, I have chosen the two keywords 'culture' and 'tourism' which suit this age of 'high-concept'. The city of Seoul will focus on fostering the six industries which will be the new driver for Seoul’s future development, and they are: tourism, fashion & design, distribution services, digital contents, R&D, and convention industries. I hope this meeting will become the basis of ideas as Seoul seeks to make another leap forward.”

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