illustrative image (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – ASEAN and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have huge potential to step up their comprehensive economic cooperation in the coming time, experts said at the ASEAN – RoK economic partnership forum.

The event was organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ho Chi Minh City Branch (VCCI – HCM City branch) and the Korea Trade Investment Promotion (KOTRA) in HCM City on November 3.

The ASEAN – RoK economic cooperation is one of the most effective cooperation models in the bloc with ASEAN currently the second biggest trader of the RoK and the country, the fifth biggest trader of the bloc.

The formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) late last year ushered in a new chapter for cooperation among ASEAN members and between the bloc and other partners.

AEC allows a freer flow of goods, services, capital, workforce among its members, enabling them to make optimal use of the regional resources to enhance their competitiveness and effectively join the global value chain, according to Nguyen Son from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

He said up to 700 million consumers and a GDP worth nearly 3 trillion USD made ASEAN a potential market for RoK partners. Administrative reforms, favourable policies, and deepened international integration will increase the bloc’s attraction.

RoK Ambassador to ASEAN Jeong-in Suh said the RoK Government has defined that it will accompany ASEAN in development.

ASEAN is not only a consumption market but also a production centre for RoK enterprises, he said, encouraging RoK investors to devise a long-term approach to the ASEAN market to fully tap its potential.

The Ambassador praised the efforts the bloc has made to create a friendly investment environment, and expressed his belief that the regional infrastructure will be improved.

ASEAN and the RoK established the dialogue relations in 1989 and lifted it to strategic partnership in 2007.

Since then, the ASEAN – RoK trade has increased 17 times, from 8.2 billion USD to 138 billion USD. The figure is expected to reach 200 billion USD by 2020.

He highlighted Vietnam as one of the regional countries with remarkable economic growth rate, adding that Ho Chi Minh City, the biggest economic hub of Vietnam, will be a promising market for foreign investors, including RoK ones.-VNA