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[KH Biz Forum] Beware fallacy of hasty generalization in ASEAN investment

When addressing Southeast Asian states as “ASEAN,” foreign investors are often inclined to overlook the individual economic, legal and cultural differences of each country, according to a legal expert.

“Cultural disparity is a frequent challenge for foreign investors who seek to affiliate themselves with an unknown business environment,” Jeong Cheol, a lawyer at Jipyong LLC, said at The Korea Herald Biz Forum.

“It may thus be a critical error to presume that the business experience and insight in a specific country may necessarily be valid in another.”

Jeong Cheol, lawyer at Jipyong LLC, speaks at the Korea Herald Biz Forum on Tuesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Jeong Cheol, lawyer at Jipyong LLC, speaks at the Korea Herald Biz Forum on Tuesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)


This is all the more so for those looking into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional bloc of 10 countries, he said.

“What Southeast Asian states nevertheless tend to have in common is the strong presence of local traditions and relatively weak legal system,” the lawyer explained.

“Investors should bear this in mind when drafting contracts or resolving disputes.”

Having celebrated its 10th anniversary of overseas business last year, law firm Jipyong is known for its broad network especially in the Southeast Asian region.

Also, South Korea’s enhanced business partnership with ASEAN will offer inspiration to the forthcoming inter-Korean economic cooperation, the lawyer added.

“It is likely that North Korea, once it opens the door to foreign investment, will heavily depend on public-private partnership for infrastructure development, just as in the early stages of ASEAN states,” he said.

“So, business practices in the Southeast Asian region may set valid precedents for future peninsular economic progresses.”

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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