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Korea and Saudi Arabia hold Investment Forum 2022-11-18

Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Lee Chang-yang attended the Korea-Saudi Investment Forum on November 17, hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment, and organized by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Federation of Saudi Chambers (FSC).

Approximately 300 persons attended the event, including Saudi Arabia’s Investment Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih and other representatives of Korean and Saudi officials and companies.

The two countries saw 26 new contracts and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) signed at the forum, including an EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) contract between Saudi Arabia's Aramco-owned S-Oil and Korea’s domestic construction companies, the biggest single foreign investment to date for South Korea.

The EPC contract involving S-Oil and its phase 2 Shaheen project is expected to advance the two countries’ partnership in petrochemicals and clean energy.

Other MOUs include collaboration between Korea’s Hyundai Rotem and Saudi’s Investment Ministry for NEOM’s rail system, Korea’s cutting-edge 3D modular construction method for future cities in Qiddiya and Red Sea, and green hydrogen and new energy cooperation between five Korean builders and Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Various MOUs were signed between Korean companies and Saudi’s Investment Ministry for cooperation in areas like chemicals (Lotte Fine Chemical), synthetic oil (DL Chemical), pharmaceuticals (GL Rapha) and games (Shift Up).

Five Korean companies, including Samsung C&T and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), signed an MOU with Saudi’s PIF for partnership in solar power, wind power, new renewable energy, as well as joint production in green hydrogen and ammonia.

Cogeneration (KEPCO), gas and petrochemicals (Daewoo E&C), gas insulated switchgear (Hyosung Heavy Industries) MOUs and an agreement for hydrogen ammonia collaboration (KEPCO) were also signed.

In manufacturing, MOUs were signed for cooperation in forging plant construction (Doosan Enerbility), industrial valves and fitting (BMT), electric compressor (Turbowin), while pharmaceutical companies like EuBiologics and Bifido inked MOUs with Saudi partners for collaboration in vaccines and probiotics, respectively.

Agriculture, services and investment MOUs were signed for cooperation in smart farm (Kolon Global), engineering services (Dongmyeong Engineering), recycling plant (Mecen IPC) and joint investment (Korea Venture Investment Corporation).

In his opening remarks, Minister Lee noted the global pandemic, supply chain risks, climate change, acceleration of energy and digital transition, and concerns of spreading inflation, and proposed that “Korea and Saudi Arabia overcome the present crisis together by reinforcing their mutually beneficial partnership” based on trust built over the years, in commemoration of the two countries’ 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The Minister assessed the S-Oil’s phase 2 Shaheen project as an exemplary success of decarbonizing and adding value to the oil industry through the mutually supplementary structure of Korea-Saudi energy industries.

He added that the Korean government will provide full support to the numerous projects, such as the NEOM railway, co-development of hydrogen powered trains, Qiddiya and Red Sea, in which Korea will be applying its high-tech 3D modular technology.

The Korea-Saudi Investment Forum was organized to seek out new joint projects via the ministerial cooperation platform Korea-Saudi Vision 2030 Committee launched in 2017, with aim to expand the basis for full-scale economic and corporate collaboration in response to recent global shifts like supply chain, digital, energy transition and climate change.

It is meaningful in that Korea and Saudi Arabia’s economic cooperation ties have opened up a new horizon to encompass not only shipbuilding, automobiles, bio, clean energy and high-tech manufacturing, but also smart cities, smart farm, education, healthcare, culture and services.