Plant Project Orders Rise
KOPIA, MKE invite diplomats from resources-rich countries to show Korean plant builders'capabilities
The Ministry of Knowledge and Economy (MKE) began its drive to attract foreign investment and secure natural resources by hosting "The Future Forum"for foreign diplomats in Korea with the support of the Korea Plant Industries Association (KOPIA) in Ulsan on April 29.
The diplomatic event drew 27 foreign diplomats including 14 ambassadors mainly from resources-rich countries of the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.
MKE officials said the event was designed to find cooperative means between Korea's plant construction industry and resources rich countries. Oil-rich countries have been stepping up their oil exploration projects leading to a growing demand for industrial infrastructure, thus expanding the global plant construction market.
Deputy Assistant Minister Kwon Tae-kyun of the Trade and Investment Office of the MKE said in his welcoming speech at the forum that he hopes Korean plant construction companies will be able to make a great contribution to the industrialization of the resources rich countries by participating in the expansion of their infrastructure, as they have competitive advantages in that field.
Professor Choi Byung-il of Ewha Woman's University, in his speech entitled "Means to Strengthen Partnerships among Nations and Korea's Development Experiences,"said developing countries see Korea as a model for development due to the nation's rapid economic growth since the 1960s. Korea, with more than 70 percent of its GDP coming from foreign trade, has a lot of room for mutual development with those countries by sharing some of its experience through cooperative ties.
The foreign diplomats were taken on a tour of the dry docks at Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipbuilder and a premier builder of drill ships. They were taken to Changwon to visit the Doosan Heavy Industry plants, which are well known for their top workmanship in building desalination plants worldwide.
In the meantime, the MKE said Korean companies won $11.1 billion worth of plant construction projects overseas in the first quarter, up 50 percent from the same period last year, thanks to oil-rich countries expansion of oil output and industrialization projects. The ministry is certain that the total orders would surpass the $50 billion target for the entire year this year if the current trend in plant project levels keeps up at this pace.
The ministry held a plant manpower fair at aT Center in Yangjae-dong, Seoul, on May 20 to solve the shortage of plant engineers as plant construction orders continue to pile up.
KOPIA has been actively supporting Korean plant construction firms'pursuit of overseas orders since its establishment in 2003, becoming firmly established as a representative agency of Korean plant-related enterprises.
Owing to the active assistance and cooperation of the business community, KOPIA has thus far undertaken several projects that contribute to the mutual benefits of member firms and that help develop the plant industries, said Chairman Yoon Young-seok of the association in a statement on the Internet.
The association has also been providing a wide variety of specialized services, support for overseas projects, financial support, recommendations to the government, the provision of information, management of experts, technology development support and more.
The association has been doing its job to the fullest to uphold the interests of the plant industry since its launch in March 2001 as the Plant Export Council through an autonomous agreement among the plant builders and related organizations in order to raise their competitiveness in overseas markets and to prevent excessive competition among the domestic businesses. The name was changed to its current name in March 2003, due to the need to expand the Council's function as an aid to the growth of the plant-related industries. nw
Deputy Minister Kwon Tae-kyun of the Investment and Trade Policies Office of the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy.