13/07/2004 - 22:00

Korean trade on agenda

13/07/2004 - 22:00

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With all of the hype about China’s rampaging economy these days some of Western Australia’s other important trading partners can often be forgotten.

Korean trade on agenda

With all of the hype about China’s rampaging economy these days some of Western Australia’s other important trading partners can often be forgotten.

South Korea was last week reminded of its importance to WA with Deputy Premier Eric Ripper leading a five-day business delegation to the booming Asian country.

While WA already maintains a strong resource-based trading relationship with Korea the plan is to broaden the trade to include other goods and services.

Total trade between WA and South Korea last year was worth $3.4 billion, however this has fallen since 2002 by almost $1 billion. Exports and imports both fell.

More than 30 industry delegates, representing 90 WA companies from sectors ranging from furniture manufacturers to education exporters accompanied Mr Ripper on the delegation.

“The South Korean economy is highly lucrative and its expanding market of affluent consumers provides many new opportunities for a range of WA industries,” Mr Ripper said in a statement before leaving.

He also opened a new trade office there during the trip.

CEO and founder of Perth-based Korean-focused company Kokos International, Young Chan Yu, is the new office’s regional director.

The office is to promote the State’s food and beverage companies as well as expand tourism, resources and education export opportunities.

WA’s fine wood furniture and education were sectors firmly on the agenda.

Local education institutions are mounting a major campaign to attract more South Korean students – a sector worth more than $900 million a year to WA’s economy.

Before leaving for Korea earlier this year Mr Yu said education was a key market and that WA had potential to win a bigger slice of the pie.

He said Canada and the US were winning a big share of Korean students.

Korean students make up the State’s seventh largest student market.

Eight WA furniture makers were also on the delegation looking to follow up on 10 container loads of WA jarrah that had recently been used in the construction of the prestigious Samsung Art Gallery in Seoul. 

However, while other sectors featured high on the Government’s agenda, Mr Ripper’s other role as WA’s energy minister also played a part in discussions with Korea’s Government and heavy industry.

There are significant developments in the Korean energy and LNG market on the horizon, which WA was keen to discuss.

A number of large Korean gas contracts are coming up for renewal  in the short term and at the same time the Korean Government has indicated its gas sector will gradually be deregulated.

The next key Korean contract to come up for renewal is the Arun III contract between KOGAS and the ExxonMobil-led Arun LNG consortium.

The $US350 million contract for the supply of an estimated 2.3 million tons of LNG per annum needs to be finalised by 2007 which means contracts need to be in place during 2005.

Korea’s LG Engineering and Construction Corp was recently awarded a contract by KOGAS to expand a KOGAS LNG plant on the outskirts of Seoul.

The expansion will permit receipt of additional volumes of LNG.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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