Hyundai and LG, the two reputed South Korean brand giants, are currently studying Sri Lanka for the “feasibility of commencing manufacturing operation in the country”. Other Korean firms are also keen on a variety of projects in Sri Lanka.
This was revealed by Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Sri Lanka Jongmoon Choi during a courtesy call on Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen last week.
“Hyundai is looking mainly at shipbuilding and repairs while other Korean firms including LG are looking at electronics. To this end, these companies are planning to send a fact finding trade delegation to Sri Lanka in the due course,” Choi revealed.
The main sectors of Korean investments in Sri Lanka at present are apparels, textiles, yarn, electrical and electronics, plastic, rubber, chemicals, steel, ceramics, ornamentals, toys, infrastructure and packaging.
Choi also invited Sri Lanka to the 2012 International Expo show in Yeosu city while Sri Lanka, on its part, has invited the Government of Korea to take part in ‘EXPO 2012’. The international exposition ‘Yeosu Korea 2012’ (Expo 2012) is to be held from 12 May to 12 August 2012 in Yeosu, Korea, on the theme ‘The Living Ocean and Coast: Diversity of Resources and Sustainable Activities’.
“Sri Lanka is keen to take part in Yeosu Korea 2012,” Minister Bathiudeen said. “I strongly believe that this will further strengthen bilateral trade relations. I also invite South Korean business and industrial delegations to Sri Lanka’s mega show Sri Lanka ‘EXPO 2012,’ a premier international trade fair organised by the EDB to be held from 28 to 30 March 2012 at the BMICH in Colombo,” Minister Bathiudeen said.
“In 2010, Sri Lanka’s exports to S. Korea registered US$ 30.9 m while imports stood at US$ 201.4 m, registering a negative trade balance for Sri Lanka at US$ 171.3 m. Sri Lanka’s negative trade balance with south Korea has fallen by 21% since 2004,” he revealed.
According to the Department of Commerce under Minister Bathiudeen’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries have not shown significant progress during the last few years.
Coconut fibre emerged as the dominant export item from Sri Lanka, accounting for 20% of total export earnings from South Korea in 2010. Other major export items from Sri Lanka to Korea are rubber products, articles of apparel clothing and accessories, used pneumatic rubber tyres, furniture, bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, etc.
As for imports from South Korea, iron and steel and its articles which had been the main item of imports accounted for 8% of the total value of imports in 2010, while imports of boilers and machinery and parts and manmade staple fibres increased by 170% and 52% respectively in 2010, compared to 2006.
Knitted or crocheted fabrics, light vessels, fire floats, dredgers, manmade filaments, cotton woven fabrics, special purpose motor vehicles, electrical machinery and equipment and parts and plastics and articles thereof were other major items of imports by Sri Lanka from South Korea.
In February 2011, a Korean business delegation to Sri Lanka headed by Vice Minister for Trade and Energy Park Young June under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of Korea, accompanying a large business delegation from the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, visited Sri Lanka in a bid to strengthen bilateral trade relations between the two countries.