Korea, Qatar to cooperate in self-driving cars, smart farms, healthcare, finance
By Ko Dong-hwan
Korea and Qatar agreed to elevate their energy-centered partnership to include self-driving vehicles, smart farms, healthcare, and finance, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Wednesday.
The two countries signed 10 memorenda of understanding (MOU) at a bilateral business forum in Doha on Wednesday. Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Bang Moon-kyu and Qatari Minister of Commerce and Industry Hamad bin Qassim Al Thani oversaw the signing ceremony. Outside the forum, another MOU and contract were also signed.
The MOUs encompassed a wide range of fields, reflecting the expanded scope of bilateral trade beyond liquified natural gas (LNG). Two MOUs were inked to expand power generating facilities in Qatar and six to boost new industries in the Middle Eastern country, such as autonomous driving, medical facilities, cosmetics, fashion and smart farms.
Cooperation for future plant construction projects in Qatar led to one MOU, while Korea Trade Insurance Corporation and Qatar Development Bank signed another MOU to support Korean firms’ future trade with Qatar.
Samsung’s construction and engineering subsidiary, Samsung C&T, self-driving technology developer SWM and Daemo Engineering were part of the Korean business delegation attending the forum, while Qatar Free Zone Authority, Protocol Capital and Qatar Building Company were among the Qatari participants.
Outside the forum, trade ministers from the two countries signed another MOU for a “trade investment stimulation framework.” The agreement will push the two countries to diversify supply chains for bilateral trade, while transitioning Qatari industries to the digital and bio industries, according to the trade ministry.
The highlight of the bilateral deals was a $3.9 billion deal signed by HD Hyundai Heavy Industries and Qatar Energy to purchase 17 new LNG carriers from the Korean shipbuilder. The deal finalized the agreement for the order made between the two firms last September.
The world’s biggest LNG exporter, Qatar is expected to increase its annual shipement volume of the gas from 77 million tons to 126 million tons by 2027, according to the trade ministry. The expansion, together with rising demand for ships to transport the commodity, prompted the Korean ministry to pursue the shipbuilding deal with Qatar.
“Our partnership that has so far hinged on LNG will from now on expand to new trade routes, including smart cities, smart farms, renewable energy, medical facilities and educational fields,” Bang said.