ISLAMABAD : Ambassador of South Korea Dr Song Jong-Hwan said on Wednesday that Korea would establish one of the biggest and most advanced IT parks in Islamabad over an area of about 1 million square feet to promote small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

He said the park would be set up in collaboration with the Ministry of IT of Pakistan, and it would provide most advanced business facilities to the IT companies in Pakistan.

He was talking to the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). He was accompanied by Commercial Counsellor Park Bongsu and Economic Officer Mr. Jo Eunsang. The ambassador said that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Korea declined by almost 34 percent during the last 3 years, which should be a cause of serious concern for both sides. He termed absence of trade related information and failure to identify promising areas of cooperation as major reasons for the low trade volume.

However, he said that Pakistan and Korea had started the process of free trade agreement feasibility, the study of which would be completed by the end of June this year, and added that both sides were expecting a big jump in bilateral trade once the FTA was signed. Hwan said Korea was cooperating with Pakistan in the energy sector, and added that Korean Importers Association was looking forward to import thousands of tonnes of good quality copper ore every month from Pakistan. The ambassador said that tremendous untapped possibilities of mutual cooperation existed between Pakistan and Korea, and assured that his embassy would provide all possible cooperation to make best use of such opportunities.

In his welcome address, , ICCI President Atif Ikram Sheikh said that Korea had placed some stringent measures due to which many Pakistani agricultural products could not get to the Korean market easily. He called for revising such measures.

He said being an advanced economy, Korea should help Pakistan in modernising its economy through technology transfer, knowledge sharing, capacity building, enhanced trade, investment and joint ventures.

He hoped that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would create plenty of opportunities for investment and joint ventures, and the time was ripe for Korean investors to take more interest in Pakistan.

Sheikh said both countries should encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations and organise exhibitions on reciprocal basis, in order to explore new avenues of mutual cooperation.

He said ICCI would work closely with the Embassy of Korea to improve bilateral and economic relations between the two countries.