Dar es Salaam — Trade volume between South Korea and Tanzania plunged by nearly 50 per cent in 2018 when compared to 2014 because of change of priorities under the latter's fifth phase government.
The trade between the two countries fell to $227 million (Sh522.8 billion) in 2018 from $347 million (Sh799.31 billion) recorded in 2014.
South Korea ambassador to Tanzania Mr Cho Tae-ick said the slowdown of the trade was largely because of the change of Tanzanian government in 2015 and other global economic stresses.
"Since the establishment of our diplomatic relations, we have been focusing on improving agriculture, fisheries, education, vocational training, healthcare, water management and ICT," he said.
However, he admitted that the focus of the fifth government is on infrastructure development and industrialisation.
He said South Korean companies are now planning to invest in the automobile sector, saying the market is viable. "Many Korean companies have shown interest in establishing car and truck assembling plants in Tanzania," Mr Tae-ick said. He said his ambition is also to see his country continue financing Tanzania's big infrastructural projects as well as irrigation and geospatial (land mapping surveys) information system projects.
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"We will also continue providing soft loans and grants to support various socio-economic activities in the country," he said.
Mr Tae-ick said his country is looking forward to starting importing metallic tools and agricultural products, particularly tobacco from Tanzania. "Our export and import trade with Tanzania is not that vibrant at the moment, but I am optimistic that it will shoot up in the near future," he said.
Diplomatic ties between South Korea and Tanzania started in 1992 and the Embassy of Tanzania in Seoul was opened in January 2018.