For the last five years, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea has been organizing Korea Business Night for Korean and Nepalese people from the business sector.
I have used this occasion last year to encourage the Nepali business people during the difficult situation, and I am pleased that this year, I am able to congratulate them for their successful overcoming of the difficulties and hope that today will be an opportunity to take the relations between our business communities a step forward.
The bilateral relations between Korea and Nepal have continued to be very close. In April 2016, the National Assembly Speaker of Korea paid an official visit to Nepal, showing the Korean Government’s warm and cordial commitments towards Nepal.
Korea has a presidential political system in which the Speaker holds the second highest in position after the President. Hence, the Speaker was the highest official visiting Nepal.
Every year more than 30,000 Korean tourists visit Nepal and five to seven thousand Nepalese workers go to Korea. There are now more than 37,000 Nepali workers residing in Korea. This people-to-people exchanges between Korea and Nepal has been supported by three direct flights a week, linking the two countries. In January, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea took part as a country partner in the Nepal Chamber Expo, organized by Nepal Chamber of Commerce.
As few Korean companies are currently doing business in Nepal, the Korean Pavilion was built by the Nepalese companies that import Korean products. I hope that in the near future, there will be an increase in the Korean business stalls, with products displayed by Korean companies doing business in Nepal.
Despite immense potential of bilateral trade between Nepal and Korea, the current annual trade volume is only around 50 million dollars. However the trade volume is increasing every year. To increase the export and import between our two countries in the future, coordinated efforts by business communities is needed.
You may be aware about the investment of Korean companies in Nepal. Recently, the PDA signing of Upper Trishuli 1 project has reached its final stage. In this project, with a capacity of 216 MW and cost of 600 million dollars, Korea South East Power Company will invest 200 million dollars along with 400 million dollars of IFC, ADB and other financial institutions. I hope the Upper Trishuli 1 project will commence without difficulty and see the completion within schedule.
It is said that in democracy, all power comes from the people, and in a market economy, the basis for economic strength come from the business.
I believe that Nepal’s future economic development & social justice relies greatly on the successful actions of businessmen and women present here today. In other words, by making more money with good business, providing employment for many workers and paying more taxes, contribute the lion's share in Nepal’s economic development and social justice.
(Author is the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nepal. Excerpts of the statement delivered at Korea Business Night 2016.)