SEOUL  - Pakistan and Korea Tuesday inked six agreements dealing with modernisation of Pakistan Railways, construction of LNG terminal, and cooperation in banking sector, in a bid to further

solidify their bilateral ties.

The signing of agreements in various sectors came during President Asif Ali Zardari’s state visit to the Republic of Korea, during which he met his counterpart and had several meetings with the CEOs and heads of various top companies.

President Zardari who witnessed the signing of almost all the Memorandums of Understanding urged the Korean investors to benefit from Pakistan’s generous incentives. Korean counterpart Myung-bak Lee also witnessed the signing of two accords at the President’s Office.

The ceremony here at the Cheong Wa Dae, following the Summit level talks between the two sides, was also witnessed by members of Pakistani delegation including Minister for Water and Power Ch Ahmad Mukhtar, Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad and the leader of PML-Q Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

A major breakthrough came in the area of modernisation of Railways. Pakistan, under the agreement, will seek high-speed railways, communication systems, signalling, rail stock, modernisation of operation and management, development of logistics parks and freight terminals, exchange of construction and maintenance technologies for infrastructure including tracks, bridges, overhead electrification and power supply systems.

The agreement was signed by Muhammad Arif Azim Secretary Railways and Minister of Railways of South Korea Kwon Do-youp.

President Zardari in his meeting with President KORAIL Chung Chang-Young said Pakistan desired modern and efficient railways to help meet its growing industrial, agricultural and freight needs. He said the current fleet of Pakistan Railways was unable to meet the needs of a growing nation and there was an urgent need to upgrade it.

The President who had a number of meetings with the heads of top Korean business houses said Pakistan was a heaven for foreign investors as the country’s large consumer population promised good profits and lucrative business.

He said a large number of Korean companies were already operating in Pakistan and doing good business. He said other companies can invest in many new areas while the existing ones can expand and diversify their operations.

President KORAIL assured President Zardari that his company was willing to share its experiences and expertise with Pakistan Railways and help it develop on modern lines.

The President later witnessed the inking of a MoU under which Pakistan will be able to acquire used diesel locomotives and work for modernisation, maintenance, operation and training of existing ones.

President Zardari during his meeting with the President and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung C&T said Pakistan needs to augment its energy resources to meet the growing demand of its industrial and domestic requirements. He said Pakistan was diversifying its energy resources and using hydel, natural gas, solar, nuclear and wind energy to meet its needs. The President said Pakistan was looking forward to import of LNG to meet the demand.

Under an agreement between Samsung C&T and the Board of Investment of Pakistan an offshore floating LNG Receiving Terminal will be established.

The President also met Governor Bank of Korea Kim Chung-soo and also witnessed signing of an MoU with the State Bank of Pakistan.

Under the MoU, the two central banks will develop closer cooperation through exchange of information, human resources, technical cooperation, sharing of experiences through seminars, workshops and short-term missions for study. The two countries also inked an MoU for enhanced cooperation in the field of culture, films, sports and tourism.

Under the framework agreement on grant aid, Korea will extend support to Pakistan through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and was aimed at poverty reduction, sustainable economic and social development besides further enhancing cooperation in diverse development sectors. President Zardari urged the South Korean investment giants to assist in the construction of Bhasha Dam project and said there were huge opportunities and potential to invest in Pakistan’s energy and power sector.

Addressing a dinner co-hosted by heads of four major business associations, including Korea International Trade Association (KITA), Federation of Korean Industries, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business here at a local hotel, the President said in view of power shortage, Pakistan needs to build a number of dams to meet its growing energy and agricultural needs. “This offers great opportunities to the Korean businessmen and investors to undertake investment and business ventures for the mutual benefit of the two countries”, he noted.

He said Pakistan was offering an attractive incentive package to the foreign investors with lucrative returns. “Foreign investment is fully protected under the law and there are no restrictions on the repatriation of capital and profits”, Zardari added.

He also highlighted the success of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) and said that due to favourable changes in the tax regime, reduced interest rates, better foreign flows, the KSE has been one of the best performing markets in 2012 in Asia.