LAHORE - Korean Ambassador Dr Song Jong Hwan on Friday said that Pakistan and Korea have reached an understanding to start a free trade agreement (FTA) study that would be completed within one year.

“We hope that FTA between two friendly states will pave the way for increasing the trend in bilateral trade.

This was stated by him during his visit to GCCI. GCCI President Samee Ullah Ch, SVP Iqbal Shaheen, VP Abdul Rauf and former Presidents Sheikh Naseem, Ikhlaq Butt, Rana Shahzad Hafeez, Nouman Salahudin and leading industrialists and traders were also present at the occasion.

The Ambassador of Republic of Korea said that all out efforts were being made to enhance interaction between the business doing people of the two countries to increase the volume of two-way trade.

The ambassador said that a proper sector-specific strategy could identify the challenge coming in the way of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Korea. Korea wants to contribute to the economy of Pakistan by sharing trade-related information. He was optimistic that the trade volume was bound to increase the government of both countries are taking measures to this regard. He said that the non-availability of required trade-related information was the biggest hurdle in the way of Korean investment in Pakistan.

The diplomat, while identifying a number of areas for mutual cooperation, said that there was a need for expertise-sharing as both the countries have a lot to learn from each other. He urged the GCCI President Samee Ullah Ch to arrange a business delegation to Korea so that Pakistani businessmen could have first hand knowledge about opportunities there.

Speaking on the occasion, GCCI President Samee Ullah Ch said that South Korea has been an important trading partner of Pakistan in Eastern Asian region. It comes at 12th place among the top importing countries and at 17th place among the top exporting countries for Pakistan.

Pakistan’s major exports to Korea are beverages & vinegar, cotton, raw hides and skins, copper, fish, salt, sulphur, oil seeds, fruits and sports goods etc. Pakistan’s imports from Korea include ships & other floating structures, machinery, iron & steel, articles of plastic, electrical equipment, mineral fuels, organic chemicals, tanning & dyeing extracts, pharmaceutical products and a host of other items.

Samee Ullah Ch said that considering the size of Korean economy which is one of the trillion economies of the world, there is still a lot of room to expand the trade and investment relations between the two countries. He said that with the consultation and involvement of commercial sections of both the embassies, further items for trading purposes can be identified which can be traded between two countries at much competitive prices. For that purpose, he said, market surveys and latest trends prevailing in both the countries must be shared with the representatives of private sectors.

The GCCI President said that with joint efforts of public and private sector organizations of Pakistan and Korea, the volume of total trade could be doubled.