ASEAN Week 2021, organized last week by the presidential committee on New Southern Policy, presented a variety of trade opportunities, potential and cultural visuals of ASEAN member countries.
In congratulatory remarks at the Oct. 5-6 event, KITA chairman Christopher Ko said the New Southern region was a young and dynamic market of 2 billion people, and was developing faster than any other in the world.
“New Southern region is now transforming into a new business place for global companies based on growing big data ICT industries as well as the start-up craze and high economic growth,” Ko said.
Ko highlighted Korea’s cooperation with countries in the region through economic, cultural, and human exchanges, saying trade exceeded $160 billion, and mutual foreign investment amounted to $11.6 billion.
“A total of 860 corporations were established in the New Southern region last year, and a total of 18,000 Korean companies have been operating in the New Southern region,” he added.
Ko emphasized the “fourth industrial revolution,” companies operating with new technologies and the spread of world-class startups.
“With emerging trends, Korean companies and the new southern countries should fast take on the road of new opportunities and actively create a new cooperative model that enables New Southern region to prosper together,” he said.
According to Presidential Committee on New Southern Policy Chairperson Nam Young-sook, business exchanges between Korea and New Southern region offers room to explore future version for co-prosperity in post-COVID era. President Moon Jae-in focused on New Southern Policy centered on trade and investment strengthening a comprehensive cooperative relationship and became the first president in Korea’s history to visit all 11 New Southern countries during his tenure.
As exchanges increase, the demand for Korean language education and content has increased as well. Seven new southern countries, including India, have adopted Korean as a regular subject in schools.
In the field of win-win prosperity, the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Agreement (RCEP), the signing of the Korea-Indonesia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, and the signing of the FTA Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement fostered common prosperity of the multilateral trade system and free trade order.
“South Korea also gained the support of ASEAN members states for peace process on the Korean Peninsula,” Nam said.
Quoting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ comment that “no one is safe until everyone is safe,” she urged solidarity and cooperation from international community to cope with COVID-19. Her suggestions included a health vaccine partnership between Korea and the New Southern countries to reduce the vaccine divide, cooperation in the supply chain for vaccines and therapeutics, support for infectious disease responses and sharing experiences in prevention and control.
Concluding the opening session, ASEAN Korea Center Secretary-General Kim Hae-yong highlighted the diversity of the region, saying ASEAN member countries have different clothes, food, religions and cultures, they blend in and harmonize with each other and show unique charm of ASEAN.
But he said rice connected them as a common staple, and also connected them with Korea.
“ASEAN Korea Center will enlighten Korean companies that are considering entering the ASEAN region with investment opportunities, significant areas of trade and industrial corridors in Southeast Asia to revitalize investment in ASEAN in post COVID-19,” Kim concluded.
By Sanjay Kumar (email@example.com