Looking for the answer to the economic downturn in the Middle East... Investment industry looking at the oil money

[Source]  https://economist.co.kr/article/view/ecn202305300021


Jang Dong-heon, advisor at law firm Yulchon, Park In-dae, Samil PwC partner, and Lee Jong-cheon, chairman of the Korea-Saudi Friendship Association. Yoon Ji-seon, head of alternative investment office at Teachers' Pension Service, and Lee Tae-woo, CIO of Alchemic Investment, held at the '2023 Global Alternative Investment Conference (GAIC)' held at the Grand Ballroom of The Plaza Hotel, Jung-gu, Seoul on the afternoon of the 25th, 'spreading Middle East boom, creating synergy through investment cooperation' discussing the topic [Reporter Lee Young-hoon of E-Daily]

[GAIC 2023] ③

Religion, culture, etc. Clearly closed... “Considering variables such as tax law”

Targeting Saudi Arabia in the Middle East... Bin Salman Vision 2030 Attention

[Economist Market in Reporter Lee Geon-eum] The Middle East market is emerging as a 'land of opportunity' amidst the global economic downturn. In particular, as Saudi Arabia, the center of the Middle East, has announced the ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ with oil money at the forefront, domestic companies are paying more attention to it. However, in the case of the Middle East, as it differs from major markets in many areas such as politics and culture, it is analyzed that careful preparation is necessary for successful investment.

In the 4th session of the Global Alternative Investment Conference (GAIC) 2023 held on the 25th of last month at The Plaza in Jung-gu, Seoul, domestic experts gathered under the theme of ‘spreading Middle East boom, creating synergy through investment cooperation’ and presented various opinions on investment in the Middle East.

In-dae Park, a partner at Samil Accounting Firm, who was the first to speak, paid attention to the growth potential of the Middle East market. It is explained that there will be many opportunities as the demand for infrastructure expansion is significant. Currently, the investment industry estimates that the size of sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East reaches 4 trillion.

Partner Park said, “In the Middle East, there are many investment opportunities due to the high growth potential in the infrastructure sector, and the tax rate is not high compared to other countries.”

Yoon Ji-seon, head of alternative investment at Teachers’ Pension Service, also said, “The Teachers’ Pension Service has been responding to overseas alternative investments and overseas stocks since the past.” As a country, it is worth considering the opportunity to invest in commodities.”

Experts believe that oil money is the answer to overcoming the global economic recession, which is showing signs of a prolonged period. Earlier, during the global financial crisis in 2008, oil money emerged as an alternative, and the Middle East market received a lot of attention from investors.

Lee Tae-woo, CIO of Alchemic Investment's investment division, said, "Every time there is a financial crisis, there is a common trend of interest in oil money in the Middle East."

He continued, “The part I was interested in in the past was the investment sector of advanced countries such as Citibank, infrastructure fund, and real estate fund.”

Middle East Business, Relationships Matter

On this day, experts unanimously agreed that it is necessary to understand the unique closed nature of investment in the Middle East market. In the case of the Middle East market, it is explained that there are many variables to consider, such as geographical characteristics, laws, and culture. In fact, Middle Eastern countries, like developed countries, have a policy that prohibits foreigners from owning 100% of local corporations in certain industries such as defense and banking. In terms of culture, there is a tendency to value ‘relationships’ based on their unique nomadic spirit and Islam.

Partner Park said, “In the future, active investment movements are being detected due to industry diversification, and we need to check the foreign investment environment, taxes, and laws of the country (Middle East).” can,” he explained.

Lee Jong-cheon, chairman of the Korea-Saudi Friendship Association, said, “For Middle Eastern business, you need to know culture and history.” The sentiment of the Muslim society, which values relationships, must also be taken into consideration.”

In addition, there was an opinion that it is necessary to closely review whether or not an investment license is held and whether a local corporation is established.

Partner Park said, “In advanced countries, foreign investment licenses are not required, but Saudi Arabia requires a license to invest, so it needs improvement.” Vietnam and China also have restrictions on land use, so they don’t feel uncomfortable as investors.”

“Foreign investors struggle to attract investment in the early stages of their investment, but by the time they enter the stabilization period, they may be caught up in tax problems, so a sufficient preliminary review is needed from the beginning,” he said. A ‘Global Minimum Tax’ system will also be implemented.”

Park In-dae, a partner at Samil PwC, is discussing the theme of “spreading Middle Eastern boom, creating synergy through investment cooperation” at the 2023 Global Alternative Investment Conference (GAIC) held at the Grand Ballroom of The Plaza Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul on the afternoon of the 25th. [Reporter Lee Young-hoon of E-Daily]

Experts saw that cooperation with Saudi Arabia is important in targeting the Middle East market. It is explained that only knowing Saudi Arabia, which is at the center of Middle Eastern countries, can lead to successful investment. Currently, Saudi Arabia is carrying out the "Saudi Vision 2030 Project" centered on Crown Prince bin Salman, who is known as "Mr. Everything." Vision 2030, proposed in April 2016, aims to reorganize Saudi Arabia's oil-dependent industrial structure by diversifying its economic structure, including healthcare, education, infrastructure, and tourism.

Jang Dong-heon, advisor to Yulchon Law Firm, said, "Saudi Arabia is a land of opportunity, to the extent that I wonder if there will be any other growth market in the world that can generate such growth potential." I think it will be an opportunity,” he said.

Lee Jong-cheon, chairman of the Korea-Saudi Friendship Association, said, "To understand the Saudi market, it is necessary to understand 'Saudi Vision 2030'." Even in this situation, we are making aggressive investments.”

There were also many opinions that Korean companies are expected to benefit from Saudi Vision 2030. It is explained that it is necessary to accurately grasp the needs of Saudi Arabia, which regards Korea as a strategic partner.

Lee, president of the association, said, “At a time when sovereign wealth fund operation strategies are changing due to industry diversification, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia emphasized that Korea is a strategic partner for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.” He said he did,” he explained.

Counselor Jang also said, “Saudi Arabia is expanding its mutual investment relationship with major Asian countries. If we do, it will be an opportunity for long-term cooperation.”

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