South Korean and Qatari companies ink $4.6 billion worth of deals during President Yoon’s state visit

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In a significant development bolstering economic ties between South Korea and Qatar, a contract worth $3.9 billion and 11 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) valued at $4.6 billion were signed during President Yoon Suk Yeol’s state visit to Qatar. The contract, the largest in South Korea’s shipbuilding industry, was inked between South Korea’s HD Hyundai Heavy Industries and Qatar’s state-owned petroleum company, QatarEnergy, for the construction of 17 liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. This landmark deal underscores the countries’ commitment to fostering cooperation in various sectors.

The highlight of this collaboration is undoubtedly the LNG carrier contract, as it represents a significant boost to South Korea’s shipbuilding industry. Senior presidential secretary for economic affairs, Choi Sang-mok, emphasized the importance of this contract, stating, “HD Hyundai Heavy Industries has secured a half-year’s worth of work, while our companies’ share of the world’s LNG carrier orders this year has increased from 74 percent to 81 percent.” This project will not only provide a substantial economic boost but also strengthen South Korea’s presence in the global LNG carrier market.

Furthermore, South Korean companies have expanded their reach into Qatar’s promising markets through the signing of 11 MOUs across various sectors:

  1. Smart Farming: South Korea and Qatar will collaborate on smart farming technologies, promising advancements in agriculture. This MOU is expected to improve food security and increase agricultural productivity in the region.
  2. Solar Energy: Samsung C&T and the Qatar Free Zones Authority will join forces to develop solar power projects, contributing to the sustainable energy transition and combating climate change.
  3. Driverless Cars: SW Mobility and Protocol Capital have agreed to cooperate on driverless car technologies, potentially revolutionizing the transportation sector in both nations.
  4. Cultural Content: Collaborations in cultural content will promote cultural exchange and enhance cultural awareness between the two countries.
  5. Medical Services: The MOU in the medical sector is expected to facilitate the exchange of medical expertise and services, ultimately improving healthcare in both countries.
  6. Finance: Cooperation between the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation and Qatar Development Bank will enhance the competitiveness of South Korean firms in the financial sector, leading to increased investment opportunities.

These MOUs represent a diverse range of industries and highlight the commitment of both nations to developing comprehensive partnerships. They are expected to contribute to economic growth, technological advancements, and knowledge transfer.

In addition to these developments, South Korean companies Hanwha Ocean and Samsung Heavy Industries are currently engaged in negotiations with Qatari counterparts for the construction of approximately 30 additional vessels. This further collaboration indicates the long-term commitment of both countries to strengthening their economic ties and the continued expansion of their partnership.

During the visit, President Yoon also sought the attention and assistance of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to support South Korean shipping companies in their bid to operate 40 LNG carriers. This gesture underscores the South Korean government’s determination to create a favorable environment for its businesses and further strengthen bilateral relations.

The signing of these agreements and contracts during President Yoon’s state visit signifies a significant step in the South Korean-Qatari partnership. The comprehensive nature of these deals, spanning a wide array of sectors, underlines the commitment of both nations to foster economic growth, technological innovation, and a strong and lasting alliance.

(Source: Lee Haye-ah | Yonhap News Agency | Asmahan Qarjouli | Doha News)

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