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Press Release > 2009

Seminar on Islamic Finance aims to be catalyst for the development of Islamic financial services industry in Korea

Date posted: 13 January 2009

Seoul, January 13, 2009 - The Seminar on Islamic Finance kicked off in Seoul at the Lotte Hotel this morning with Dr. Jun Kwang-Woo, Chairman of Korea's Financial Services Commission, delivering the opening remarks by H.E. Lee Myung-Bak, President of the Republic of Korea. Approximately 300 participants, including representatives from the IFSB, regulators, finance practitioners, business executives, and government representatives, attended the meeting.

In his opening remarks, President Lee Myung-Bak extended a warm welcome to the seminar participants and thanked the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), the Financial Services Commission (FSC), and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), for working together to hold the seminar in Korea. Stressing the potential benefits of developing a vibrant Islamic financial services industry in Korea, President Lee Myung-Bak noted that "What we would like to see is significantly expanded capital flows and financial services between Korea and Islamic countries in addition to the trade of goods that have benefited each other so much over the past several decades." He also commended the seminar by stating that "The Seoul Seminar is intended to achieve, among others, greater understanding and recognition of Islamic finance in Korea's business community, in particular its potential for Korea's financial service industry. It is a unique opportunity, and we are delighted to have it."

Professor Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, Secretary-General of the IFSB said in his opening address that, "The pursuit of financial stability does not solely depend on the effective enforcement and implementation of high quality prudential standards." He highlighted that financial stability requires the development of other key components of the Islamic financial infrastructure, which include: (1) A systemic liquidity infrastructure; (2) A legal infrastructure; (3) An information infrastructure; and (4) Financial safety net mechanisms. On the cooperation in organising the Seminar with FSC/FSS, Rifaat added, "This inaugural gathering is hoped to be a catalyst for the development of the Islamic financial services industry in Korea, as well as trigger cooperation with delegates from other countries."

FSS Governor Kim Jong Chang also expressed high expectations by telling the seminar participants that "This is the first Seminar on Islamic Finance for Korea and the third for the IFSB. For those of us in Korea who are looking to promote local awareness and development of Islamic finance, today's seminar is a truly exciting and unique occasion. Amid discussions on fresh approach to global financial challenges, it is also a timely forum that will help us shed new light on opportunities for the Islamic financial services industry, its crucial linkage to global finance, and its potential to contribute to the global economy."

The Seminar, the first such cooperation between the IFSB and the FSC/FSS, aims to create awareness of Islamic finance in Korea to facilitate sufficient recognition among its financial community. It also aims to highlight the industry's potential opportunities in the country.  The Seminar continues tomorrow.

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