His Excellency Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, met with His Excellency Sung Yun-mo, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea to discuss ways of enhancing strategic cooperation between the two countries in the fields of industry and advanced technology.
The talks took place during a virtual meeting between the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea (MOTIE) that focused on strengthening the relations between the two countries, spanning more than 40 years.
His Excellency Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of MoIAT, His Excellency Abdullah Saif Ali Al Nuaimi, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Kwon Yongwoo, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the UAE, and other senior government officials attended the event. The gathering also drew the participation of C-suite executives of select public and private sector entities from the two countries. These included Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Masdar, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS), Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC), H2KOREA, GS Caltex, GS Energy, Hanwha Solutions, LOTTE Chemical, SK E&C, SK innovation, and Samsung Engineering.
The ministers stressed the joint commitment of their countries to accelerating the post-COVID-19 economic recovery and the transition to a low-carbon future. They expressed keen interest in working together to build capacities in several strategic areas, including energy, climate change, green hydrogen, Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, as well as the space, electronics, metal, pharmaceutical, and food industries.
The meeting culminated in the signing of two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between MoIAT and MOTIE.
The first agreement targets cooperation in developing the hydrogen economy. The two ministries aim to support laws, rules, regulations, and national policies governing hydrogen trade between the UAE and the Republic of Korea, and facilitate collaboration between the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance – comprising ADNOC, Mubadala, and ADQ – and H2KOREA. They also seek to collaborate in relevant international forums.
Under the terms of the MoU, MoIAT and MOTIE plan to run joint feasibility studies and pilot projects with a focus on hydrogen, carbon recycling, and related low-emission technologies, industries, and value chains.
The second agreement covers the development of industrial and technological policies. Areas of cooperation include identifying agendas and exchanging regulatory best practices in industrial development. Among the main fields of interest are medtech (telemedicine, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, and advanced drug delivery systems), space (small satellite manufacturing), agritech (smart aquaculture and smart farms), and Industry 4.0 (smart factories as well as relevant technologies and policies).
Within the framework of the second MoU, the ministers agreed to hold regular strategic meetings to discuss industrial and technological policies, and explore potential new areas for collaboration.
His Excellency Dr Al Jaber said: “The UAE leadership has always encouraged mutually beneficial international partnerships, and the Republic of Korea has been a long-standing valued partner to our country. The new MoUs support MoIAT’s mandate to develop the UAE’s industrial sector, boost its contribution to economic diversification, encourage foreign direct investment in this domain, and strengthen the country’s R&D ecosystem. The collaboration is part of the Ministry’s endeavors to build synergies with global stakeholders with the aim of exchanging and localizing knowledge in the field of advanced technology.”
Emphasizing the importance of the strategic partnership, he added: “We are open to learning from global best practices, and leverage this expertise to enhance our technology infrastructure, create an enabling environment for bright minds, improve operational efficiency, and increase the quality and competitiveness of local products. The Republic of Korea possesses a wealth of experience in the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions, therefore it represents an ideal partner on our path towards a tech-powered, knowledge-based economy.”
His Excellency Dr Al Jaber noted that MoIAT coordinates joint efforts of the public and private sectors to achieve world-class national production, and works to enhance the role of academic and R&D institutions in this regard. He highlighted pharmaceuticals, F&B, and hydrogen technologies as the priority sectors.
His Excellency Sung Yun-mo said: “Despite the restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak last year, the Republic of Korea and the UAE engaged in active cooperation, including business interactions as well as pandemic control. Our two countries have enjoyed successful collaboration in the oil and gas sector, however, we are keen to expand the scope of our partnership with a focus on the development of low-carbon technologies, IT, and the zero-contact economy. Today, we are pleased to establish cooperation in fostering future industries and promising start-ups through the signing of the two new agreements.”
The UAE is the largest trade partner of the Republic of Korea in the MENA region, while Korea is one of the UAE’s most prominent trade partners in Asia. Over the years, especially in the past decade, the two countries have significantly stepped up cooperation in the fields of artificial intelligence, innovation, defense, science, culture, education, renewable and nuclear energy, and other sectors. By end-2019, the volume of bilateral non-oil trade amounted to AED18.3 billion (US$5 billion).