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[KH Biz Forum] ASEAN diplomats foresee greater economic collaboration with Korea

Amid South Korea’s increasing pivot toward the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, foreign diplomats from the region expressed confidence in deeper and diversified bilateral economic ties at a business forum organized by The Korea Herald on Tuesday.

At “The Korea Herald Biz Forum: ASEAN and New Asia” in Seoul, envoys from the 10 member countries introduced investment opportunities from their home turfs, including the latest policies, free trade agreements, special economic zones, incentives and general tips on plowing capital into their markets.

They also lauded the event for its timely investigation of the growing market, which is receiving increased attention under Seoul’s “New Southern Policy” aimed at strengthening ties with Southeast Asian, South Asian and Western Asian countries. 

(From left) Cambodia’s Commercial Counselor Yam Sophal, Brunei’s Charge d’Affaires Nurfauzanna Abu Bakar, Cambodian Ambassador Long Dimanche, Singaporean Ambassador Yip Wei Kiat and Thailand Ambassador Singtong Lapisatepun attend The Korea Herald Biz Forum: ASEAN and New Asia at Hotel Shilla in central Seoul, Tuesday.(The Korea Herald/ Park Hyun-koo)
(From left) Cambodia’s Commercial Counselor Yam Sophal, Brunei’s Charge d’Affaires Nurfauzanna Abu Bakar, Cambodian Ambassador Long Dimanche, Singaporean Ambassador Yip Wei Kiat and Thailand Ambassador Singtong Lapisatepun attend The Korea Herald Biz Forum: ASEAN and New Asia at Hotel Shilla in central Seoul, Tuesday.(The Korea Herald/ Park Hyun-koo)

Some 20 diplomats attended the event, including Singaporean Ambassador to Korea Yip Wei Kiat, Philippine Ambassador Raul S. Hernandez, Thai Ambassador Singtong Lapisatepun, Deputy Director of Indonesia Investment Promotion Center Reza Mawasthama and Vietnamese Deputy Head of Mission Tran Truong Thuy.

“We are talking about the New Southern Policy and its ‘three P’s’ -- prosperity, people and peace. I think one more ‘P’ that is very important but not mentioned is partnership. Partnership is the key factor that would allow ASEAN countries to see Korea as a great partner and foster greater collaboration between ASEAN and Korea,” said Thailand Ambassador Singtong Lapisatepun.

Hernandez, Kiat and Thuy presented information about market trends, policies and incentives offered by their governments, also mentioning their efforts to integrate into the ASEAN economy as a whole.

“I agree with people’s recognition of ASEAN as an important market, the ASEAN Economic Community as well as the partnership between Korea and ASEAN. ... With ongoing tensions between China and US, we are witnessing a new wave of investment into Vietnam as a new investment destination for hedging against risk in other countries,” said Thuy.

South Korea is the top foreign investor in the Vietnamese market with accumulated investments of about $60 billion, surpassing Japan and Singapore. It is playing an essential role in Vietnam’s continuing growth, he added.

“In terms of the New Southern Policy, our government sees it as an opportunity to increase the flow of not only trade, but also investments from Korea into Southeast Asian countries,” said Mawasthama.

He described Indonesia as an attractive marketplace with a population of 263 million last year, also outlining the government’s various tax incentives.
By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)
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