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South Korea Launches Council on Economic Cooperation with Middle East


Asharq Al-Awsat


South Korea on Friday launched a council involving both government and private sectors meant to jointly seek ways to promote corporate advancement into the Middle East, the industry ministry said.
The council on the Korea-Middle East economic and trade cooperation will discuss how to actively participate in various projects by Korean firms in the region and boost cooperation with the countries there in energy and new industry sectors, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The government plans to send a delegation to the Middle East this year for talks on bilateral trade and investment based on the results of council discussions, it added.
"It is needed to enhance economic ties with the Middle East as a way to prop up our dwindling exports amid the prolonged war surrounding Ukraine and global supply chain disruptions," Deputy Trade Minister Jeong Dae-jin said.
In August, South Korea's exports rose 6.6 percent on-year and sales in the Middle East combined grew 7.8 percent on-year to $1.34 billion. But high global energy prices caused the country to suffer a record high monthly trade deficit of $9.47 billion, government data showed.
This was the first time in 14 years that the nation suffered a trade deficit for five consecutive months, dating to the period of December 2007 to April 2008.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the nation’s imports increased by 28.2 percent on-year to $66.15 billion in August, while exports increased to $56.67 billion.

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