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NEWS

S. Korea seeking to expand investment in Uzbekistan

english.yonhapnews.co.kr
4 November 2015

South Korea is seeking to expand investment in Uzbekistan as the Central Asian country moves to privatize state-run enterprises, the government said Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, a delegation of government officials and businessmen will visit Tashkent on Friday to take part in an international investment forum.

The forum will outline Uzbekistan's effort to privatize 68 state-run enterprises in the chemical, oil and gas and electricity fields. Foreign companies and international financial institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank have been invited to attend the gathering.

Trade and Industry Vice Minister Lee Kwan-sup will head the South Korean delegation and will be accompanied by executives from 20 companies including those from Hyundai Engineering Co., Korea Gas Corp., and Lotte Chemical Corp., the ministry said.

These local companies have expressed interest in investing in Uzbekistan, which is South Korea's largest trading partner in Central Asia.

The ministry said Lee will ask Tashkent to extend more support so South Korean companies can invest in the country.

He will also outline the advantages of linking Uzbekistan's foreign investment with Seoul's ambitious "Eurasia Initiative" that aims to bind Eurasian nations closely together by linking roads and railways that run from South Korea to Europe via North Korea, Russia and China.

The senior official is expected to meet with Elyor Ganiev, the minister for foreign economic relations on Thursday, to discuss details of the US$4 billion methanol-to-olefins plant building project. South Korean companies are currently involved in the project that aims to use natural gas to make chemical products.

In addition, Lee will request greater support for South Korean companies wanting to take part in the 100 megawatt Samarkand solar power project.

Besides the meeting, the vice minister plans to hold talks with South Korean companies operating in country to get feedback on such matters as currency exchange, repatriation of earnings and customs inspections.