South Korea to help builders win $50bn of overseas work a year

The UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant is one of South Korea’s recent triumphs (Wikiemirati/CC BY-SA 4.0)
The government of South Korea has announced plans to help construction companies to win overseas contracts to the value of $50bn a year, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said yesterday.

The aim is to promote the country’s construction and engineering industries, which have long suffered stagnation. Advance overseas orders fell from a peak of $72bn in 2010 to $31bn in 2021.

According to The Korea Herald, the ministry is aiming to provide a “construction package” that would include building railways, airports and entire cities. Another strength of the domestic industry are smart cities and landscape building, an area of expertise Korea has nurtured in recent years.

Won Hee-ryong, Korea’s construction minister, said: "We will take a leap forward in overseas construction through what we have termed ‘K-Smart Infrastructure’, which will be announced next month. Comprehensive and detail-oriented plans will help Korea win a higher number of overseas construction projects.”

He added: “We will set up a different approach to best meet the demands from different countries. Deregulation and tax or other policy incentives will be outlined accordingly.”

Another potential market is the Ukraine. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told the Lugano conference on 4 July that the cost of rebuilding was estimated at $750bn. Won has already met with the Ukraine’s legislators and ambassador.

Similar ministry-led post-war reconstruction efforts are in progress in Iraq, as evidenced by the $2.7bn Grand Port of Al Faw, a $2.5bn rapid transit project in Baghdad and a $3bn seawater treatment facility in Basra.

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