“The biggest challenge in export of Pakistani mangoes is the cost of transportation,” Ambassador of South Korea Song Jong-Hwan said on Wednesday.
He was talking to representatives of the Mango Growers Association.
“Unavailability of trade-related information and lack of clarity on potential areas of cooperation are also major reasons behind the low volume of trade between Pakistan and South Korea,” he said. The ambassador said there was a huge scope for Pakistani mangoes in his country.
“We imported 14,000 tonnes last year. This can be increased to 24,000 tonnes this year but transportation is too costly,” he said. He said Korean airlines should start operating in Pakistan to strengthen trade relations. “Trade volume between Pakistan and Korea was around $1.6 billion in 2012. It has dropped to $1.2 billion. This should be a cause of serious concern for both sides,” he said. He added that bilateral trade had declined by nearly 34 percent in three years. “We must take steps to enhance cooperation.”
The ambassador said South Korea would establish an IT park in Islamabad. He said Exim Bank of South Korea had agreed to provide $50 million for the park.
“Our teams are expected to conduct a feasibility study for the project soon,” he said.
Seminar on mango production
A seminar titled Challenges of Mango Production Chain was held at Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture on Wednesday.
Asif Ali, vice chancellor of the university, presided over the seminar. Dr Song Jong-Hwan, the ambassador of the Republic of Korea was the chief guest. Former National Assembly member Makhdoom Ahmad Alam Anwar was also present.
“Our export potential is reduced because of such limitations,” he said. “There are numerous value-added products and by-products of the mango but we are lagging in this area as well.” Dr Song said that Pakistan and the Republic of Korea had a good economic partnership. “We collaborated with the government of Pakistan in projects of public interests such as development of an IT Park, the N-5 highway and provision of safe drinking water,” he said. Jeong Seo, chief executive officer of Seo Jung Cooking Company from Seoul, South Korea, highlighted the scope for the export of Pakistani mango in Korean markets.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2016.