Central Asian Market, High Entry Barriers but Blue Ocean with Many Opportunities

KITA and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy jointly recently held the “Public-Private Central Economic Cooperation Commission”.

After the summit diplomacy in June, last year, the cooperative mood has been developed between Korea and the Central Asia and the Public-Private Central Economic Cooperation Commission was established in September, last year. In the Commission, KITA is in charge of two countries, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry works with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and the Federation of Korean Industries takes care of Kazakhstan. KITA takes on the secretariat of the commission and has supported the operation of task force for each country as well as advisory committ ee for each area.

Seventy people, including Vice-Minister Moon Jae-do of MOTIE and Vice Chairman Kim Jung-kwan of KITA, the members of Economic Commission from fi ve countries and offi cials from the companies who have entered into Central Asian countries, participated in the event. During the meeting, presentations on ▲the achievements of economic cooperation with Central Asian countries and how to run the Economic Cooperation Commission in the future (by KITA) ▲ success stories of business expansion into Central Asian countries (by GS E&C, HS International and Sigong Tech) and ▲ the economic cooperation strategies with Central Asian countries and entry measures were delivered followed by expert discussions. Through the presentation on the achievements of economic cooperation with Central Asian countries and how to run the Economic Cooperation Commission in the future, KITA shared the outcomes of entry into Central Asian countries such as dispatching public private joint delegation, holding intergovernmental joint committ ee, supporting activities to receive orders, etc.

As success stories, GS E&S shared the UGCC gas project, which the company received the order in 2012, and MTO project that the company signed the MOU when President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan visited Korea in May, this year. HS International shared its experience how they overcame the weakness as an SME by identifying the characteristics of Central Asian region and taking advantage of them. Sigong Tech introduced its success story of receiving the national museum construction order from Kazakhstan by tackling the niche market.

Professor Yoon Sung-hak at Korea University suggested public-private joint projects by taking advantage of the current status of Central Asia and international relations, joint entry with China and Russia and PPP strategy as entry measures into Central Asia during his speech on the economic cooperation strategies with Central Asian countries and entry measures. Professor Park Sang-nam at Hanshin University, PhD. Na Hee-seung at the Korea Railroad Research Institute, Ph.D. Je Sung-hoon at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy and Ph.D. Oh Young-il at POSCO Research Institute took part in the expert discussion session and discussed the expansion of economic cooperation with Central Asian countries and development of entry foundation as well as the private and public collaboration measures.

Vice-Chairman of Kim Jung-kwan of KITA stated in his opening speech “Central Asia has high entry barriers with immigration visa issue, limited information about the countries, payment problem, etc. However, it can be a blue ocean in which the competition with the third countries is not severe.” He also mentioned “KITA will actively carry out supports, such as resolving diffi culties for Korean businesses, implementing B2B consultation sessions and providing market information based on the discussion results from the Central Economic Cooperation Commission for Korean companies to make inroads into Central Asian countries.”

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