Doha Bank hosted a Knowledge Sharing Session on “Changing Global Dynamics and Opportunities” on Thursday the 16th February 2017 from 6.30 pm at Lotte Hotel, Seoul, South Korea.

H.E Mr. Kim Jin-Soo, Secretary General, Korea Arab Society attended the event. The event also witnessed participation from Qatar embassy, Oman embassy and Kuwait embassy in Seoul, South Korea. The top executives from major Domestic banks and MNC banks in South Korea participated in the event. Senior officials from all major corporates in South Korea also attended the event. The Welcome Speech was given by Dr. LIM, Se Hee, Director General, International Cooperation Department, Financial Supervisory Service.

In his Keynote Speech Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank gave insight on global economy. He said “According to IMF Jan 2017 global growth is expected to be at 3.1 percent. Advanced economies are now projected to grow by 1.9 percent in 2017. Emerging and Developing economies growth is currently estimated at 4.5 percent for 2017. We need to anticipate what policy shifts could do for the world’s economic outlook.  There are risks associated with political uncertainty, trade frictions and adverse effects of a rising dollar. The capital rules for Banking sector are getting redefined and the financial markets are getting more volatile on account of the changing dynamics. Contentious issues are coming between developed and developing world on global trade and investment. The lack of convergence between politics and economics could impact global growth.”

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Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on Korean economy and Qatar Economy. He said “South Korea Economy is expected to grow by 2.6 percent in 2017. Exports, which account for about half of the export-driven economy is expected to rebound this year. In Jan 2017 South Korea’s central bank kept interest rates unchanged at a record low of 1.25 percent. Qatar economy is expected to grow by 3.4 percent in 2017. The Qatar budget for 2017 has estimated revenues of QR170.1bn and an expenditure of QR198.4bn thus expecting to post a deficit of QR28.3bn. The shortfall is expected to be covered by issuing debt instruments in the local and international financial markets, while maintaining its reserves and investments. ”

Dr. R. Seetharaman spoke on GCC – South Korea bilateral relationships. He said “GCC – South Korea bilateral trade is close to $57bn in 2016. South Korea imports 30 percent of its crude oil from Saudi Arabia, which is also Korea’s sixth-biggest trading partner globally and its top trading partner in the Middle East.  Construction, energy, petrochemicals, healthcare and other areas are the primary sectors of the two countries cooperation. Korean companies can help the Saudi market through the transfer of technology, to improve the Kingdom’s industries in various fields. UAE and South Korea have sealed an agreement to boost co-operation in agriculture and Halal food exports.  In August 2014 Investment Corporation of Dubai, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for an alliance with the Export-Import Bank of Korea to focus on sub-Saharan Africa, where Korean companies hope to tap into rising demand for infrastructure development. In March 2016 Hyundai E&C, Hyundai Engineering and Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas) consortium has won a US$3 billion contract to build a liquefied natural gas plant in Kuwait. In 2016 the governments of South Korea and Kuwait have agreed to jointly build the South Saad Al Abdullah New City in Kuwait at an estimated cost of $4 billon.

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar – South Korea bilateral relationships. He said “Korea was importing one third of its annual LNG requirements and 10 percent of its oil from Qatar. Kogas, one of the world’s biggest LNG buyers has a standing agreement with Rasgas for 7 million tons a year until 2024-2026. This was increased to 9 million tons based on agreement entered in 2012. Korean imports from Qatar are mainly oil and gas, while exports from Korea are mostly heavy equipment, passenger cars, transformers, air conditioning units.  Many Korean construction companies have participated in various infrastructure projects such as Lusail Expressway, Umm Haul Power and Desalination plants.  Many Korean companies are looking for mutually beneficial projects related to 2022 World Cup. Qatar and South Korea are expanding relations from energy and infrastructure cooperation to healthcare and education.MoU for cooperation in Science & Technology Research and Development signed between both countries. A MoU on educational cooperation was signed in 2015 between both countries.”

Dr.R.Seetharaman highlighted the opportunities arising from GCC diversification. He said “In Qatar Budget 2017, the total allocation for key sectors such as health, education and infrastructure was nearly 44 percent of the total expenditure in the 2017 Qatar budget, out of which 12.3 percent is for health, 10.4 percent is for education and 21.2 percent is for infrastructure segment respectively. The government would sign contracts for New projects of QR46.1bn in 2017 which encompasses FIFA world cup, infrastructure and transportation, Health and education as well. Saudi Arabia to spend 268 billion riyals on National Transformation Plan through 2020; of which 42 billion allocated in 2017. The 2017 Dubai budget will see spending on infrastructure rise by 27 percent as Dubai continues to launch development projects ahead of its hosting of the World Expo in 2020. The above developments reveal GCC and South Korea can explore new avenues on account of diversification. It would also lead to more strategic alliances between Qatar and South Korea. ”

The event had a Question and Answer Session, a Lucky draw and closing comment given by KWAK, Young Joon, Chief Representative, Doha Bank Seoul Representative Office. This was followed by a Dinner.