ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit in December 2014 (Source: asean)
ASEAN will attract more foreign investment with its robust economic growth, primarily driven by its competitive young workforce and soon-to-be-discovered potential, once the common ASEAN Community is formed on December 31, 2015, affirmed Suh Jung-in, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea (RoK) to the region.

In his article recently posted on “The Jakarta Post” newspaper, he wrote: “ASEAN has seen substantial achievements in the region’s economic integration efforts, as its economy is projected to rank as the world’s fourth largest economy by 2020 by sustaining 5 percent economic growth a year on average”.

“Taking into account these positive figures in the time of global slowdown, economists and regional experts often refer to these coming years as the “ASEAN Century” or “ASEAN Rising,” he added.

The diplomat considered it an unprecedented opportunity for ASEAN as the group’s increasing global competitiveness is making it an ideal destination for increased investment.

Since the ASEAN Economic Community blueprint targets to build ASEAN as a production-based single market, the enduring vision of a dynamic and integrated economy is set to attract even more foreign direct investment (FDI) into the market.

China was once the world’s factory and the dream hub of all multinational companies. Now, growing competition due to increased labour costs in China has convinced a number of multinational companies, including RoK companies, to turn their gaze southward to the 10 dynamic markets of ASEAN, he wrote.

In his article, the ambassador also reviewed relations between ASEAN and the RoK. Since they began their dialogue and opened relations in 1989, the bilateral economic ties have been tighter than ever with trade reaching 138 billion USD last year. ASEAN is the RoK’s second largest trade partner while the RoK is the fifth largest trade partner of the group. The RoK is the second largest investor to ASEAN after the US and the seventh largest foreign direct investor in ASEAN overall. In addition, ASEAN is the most popular destination for RoK tourists, and the northeast Asian country is the third most visited destination for ASEAN citizens.

“All this is a testament to the commitment of both sides to deepen interregional economic integration,” he affirmed.

He also reiterated the target of raising bilateral trade to 200 billion USD by 2020 set during the RoK-ASEAN Commemorative Summit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their dialogue relations last December.

To increase awareness of the diverse ASEAN culture, the RoK’s idea to establish the ASEAN Culture House in Busan was welcomed by ASEAN leaders. Once established, the cultural house will bring the people of ASEAN and the RoK even closer on the basis of profound understanding of each other’s cultures, he wrote.

The diplomat also confirmed that the RoK, as a true friend of ASEAN, will actively participate and make practical contributions to ASEAN’s institutional architecture for economic and financial integration, including the establishment of the ASEAN Community.-VNA