At the Ethio-Korea Business Forum held in the Ethiopian capital on 3rd December 2015, the two countries discussed over the growth opportunities in the textile industry and trade cooperation. The Forum also discussed ways of strengthening cooperation between bilateral companies and generating new business opportunities.
The Korean delegation included chairman of the Korean Federation of Textile Industries, representatives of the Korean business community and the Director General for Trade and Cooperation Bureau under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea.
Korea has been participating in Ethiopian development endeavours in a constructive and mutually beneficial manner, especially in priority sectors such as textile, infrastructure development and construction, the State Minister of Industry, Tadesse Haile said.
Tadesse Haile on the occasion said that special industrial zones and industrial parks had been setup in Ethiopia with one-stop shop services with the view to expand the manufacturing sector. The notable example, according to him is that, Shin Textile Solutions Co. of the Republic of Korea had moved into the existing industrial park at Bole Lemi in October, employing over 3,000 people. Furthermore, other parks have also been developed in Hawassa, Makalle, Dire Dawa and Kombolcha towns.
The trade balance is in favour of Korea and there is a strong belief that the strategic intervention through Foreign Direct Investment to gradually makeup for this gap.
He said that there is vast preferential market access to Europe, the United States and Asia (through various preferential trade agreements) for Ethiopia's products. They would like to see an increased share of value added items such as garments, leather products as well as processed agricultural products and accept the intervention of Korean investors to meet these goals.
Lee, Jae-Hoon, Programme Officer at the Korean Institute for Development Studies said that the Korean delegation consisted of some 40 potential investors, chief executive officers and owners of companies. The CEOs are mostly from textile and garment industries.
According to him, the main challenge of textile manufacturers in Ethiopia is the fact that the logistic cost is quite expensive in Ethiopia vis-Ã -vis competitors in East Africa which is key to the competition. But if they can reduce their cost elsewhere, then the total cost will be smaller.
There are numerous investment opportunities in Ethiopia. Investors are coming to Ethiopia and they have to attract these investors and accommodate and facilitate their needs. Every country faces challenges in this regard. The point is whether they are seriously trying to facilitate their needs. And this is what the Ethiopian private and public sector have to do, the Programme officer noted.
According to the Ethiopian Textile and Garment Manufacturers' Association, the export value of the Textile and Garment Sector had reached 100 Million USD in 2013 and export value of 500 million USD is expected from the sector in 2016.
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