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Dubai to invest $20bn in S Korea

By Agencies



Dubai is seeking to invest more than $20 billion (Dh72bn) in South Korea in the immediate future, the head of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) said in the capital, Seoul.


Mohammed Al Shaibani, Chief Executive Officer of the ICD, announced the proposals during a meeting with South Korean President-elect Lee Myung-bak.


Al Shaibani is on an official visit to deliver a letter of congratulation to Lee from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. According to the Korean Yonhap News Agency and reported on Wam, Sheikh Mohammed  also expressed hopes of stronger ties between the two countries in his letter.


“The world has changed greatly since I visited Dubai in the late ’70s, and I feel that South Korea has lot to learn from Dubai,” Lee, who will be inaugurated on February 25, was quoted as saying.


“I ask for your co-operation in making large investments in my country.”

According to Yonhap, Al Shaibani responded to Lee’s request for investment from Dubai by saying: “My country is planning to set up a fund of $20bn (Dh72bn) to invest in South Korea.”


During his visit, Al Shaibani also reviewed investment proposals in large-scale projects promoted by Lee’s incoming government, including the Saemangeum land reclamation plan.


Saemangeum is South Korea’s largest area of tidal flats, covering 40,100 hectares in the North Jeolla Province. Lee has said he plans to reclaim the land and use it to build a contemporary city modelled on Dubai, devoting most of the land to industrial projects.


According to Lee’s transition team, six overseas funds and companies have submitted letters of intent to invest in the Saemangeum project and another project to construct cross-country waterways. 


Lee also called for boosting tourism between the two countries during his meeting with the Dubai envoy.


Lee, a former CEO of Hyundai Construction and Engineering, has been striving to get investment into South Korea from Dubai, for which he has set up a special committee. He appointed David Eldon, Chairman of Dubai International Financial Centre, as Co-chairman of the committee. Eldon is the first non-Korean to take up such a key post. (Wam)


Historic Visit


When Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum visited South Korea in May last year, both countries agreed to boost ties. Sheikh Mohammed was the highest-ranking UAE official to visit South Korea since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1980. The UAE is the second largest oil supplier to South and its largest export market. In 2006, South’s imports from the UAE were worth Dh47.3 billion.