1. The Fifth Consultations between the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the Minister for Trade of the Republic of Korea (5th AEM-ROK Consultations) was held in Singapore on 28 August 2008. The Consultations was co-chaired by H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore and H.E. Mr. Kim Jong-Hoon, Minister for Trade of the Republic of Korea.

2. The Ministers undertook a review of the bilateral economic and trade cooperation activities implemented under the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Partnership among the Governments of ASEAN Member States and the Republic of Korea, particularly the implementation of the Agreement on Trade in Goods, the ratification of the Agreement on Trade in Services, the negotiations of the Agreement on Investment, and other economic cooperation activities.

3. The Ministers noted that, according to ASEAN statistics, economic and trade relations between ASEAN and Korea have been further strengthened. Korean FDI into ASEAN in 2007 has more than doubled than the level in 2006 to reach USD 2.8 billion, from USD 1.3 billion in 2006. Total trade between ASEAN and Korea in 2007 grew 9.5 percent to USD 61.3 billion, from USD 55.9 billion in 2006. Exports of ASEAN to Korea increased from USD 21.2 billion in 2006 to USD 29.5 billion in 2007, or a growth of 8.5 percent. Imports of ASEAN from Korea grew by 10.5 percent, from USD 28.8 billion in 2006 to USD 31.8 billion in 2007.

Implementation of the Agreement on Trade in Goods (TIG)

4. The Ministers noted that Korea and seven (7) ASEAN Member States, namely: Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Viet Nam, have implemented the TIG Agreement, and have issued legal enactments for tariff reduction for the year 2008. The Ministers looked forward to the implementation by the remaining ASEAN Member States which are Parties to the TIG Agreement.

5. ASEAN Ministers expressed their appreciation for the decision of Korea to waive the reciprocity requirement as compensation for the “loss of benefit” arising from the delay in the implementation of the TIG Agreement. Under this waiver, the products placed by ASEAN Member States in their Sensitive Track Lists, except for some products, would still enjoy the Korea’s Normal Track tariff concessions when exported to Korea.

6. In the area of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, the Ministers noted the organisation of the Seminar on Exchange of Information on SPS Regime in ASEAN and Korea on 8–9 April 2008 in Busan, Korea. Future cooperation between ASEAN and Korea in this area will focus on addressing the constraints identified during the Seminar. In addition, a Seminar on Livestock Product Safety Management with ASEAN Member States will be conducted on 21–27 September 2008 in Korea.

7. In the area of cooperation on technical barriers to trade, the Ministers welcomed Korea’s proposals on three activities under the Project on “Educational Program for Strengthening Cooperation in Standards and Technical Regulations between Korea and ASEAN, i.e. (i) The Safety of Electronic Products and Electromagnetic Waves; and (ii) Improvement of Weathering Evaluation Technologies for Industrial Materials and the Testing of Construction Materials and Products, to be conducted in September 2008 in Korea.

Implementation of the Agreement on Trade in Services

8. The Ministers noted that, as of August 2008, three (3) ASEAN Member States, have completed their internal procedures for the entry into force of the ASEAN-Korea Trade in Services Agreement. The Ministers urged the other Member States to expedite their domestic procedures. This Agreement will enter into force after at least one (1) ASEAN Member State and Korea have notified all the other Parties in writing of the completion of their internal procedures.

Negotiations on the Agreement on Investment

9. The Ministers noted the progress that has been made in the negotiations on the ASEAN-ROK Agreement on Investment by the ASEAN-ROK Investment Expert Working Group. The Ministers urged the negotiators of both sides to exert best efforts to resolve the outstanding issues and conclude the negotiations on the Agreement by the time of the 12th ASEAN-ROK Summit scheduled in December 2008.

Economic Cooperation

10. The Ministers welcomed the adoption of nineteen (19) projects for implementation under the Framework Agreement, nine (9) of which are to be implemented in 2008. In this regard, the ASEAN Ministers expressed their appreciation to Korea for offering a Special Fund of 500 million Korean won, equivalent to USD 531,915, for the implementation of the cooperation projects to be implemented in 2008.

11. The Ministers welcomed the signing of the MOU on the Establishment of the ASEAN-ROK Centre by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and Korea at the 11th ASEAN-ROK Summit in November 2007, which would help promote trade, investment and tourism, and strengthen economic cooperation activities between ASEAN and Korea. The Ministers looked forward to the finalisation of the ratification of the MOU on the Establishment of the ASEAN-ROK Centre by all countries for its launch scheduled in November 2008.

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LIST OF MINISTERS

  1. H.E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam
  2. H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia
  3. H.E. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia
  4. H.E. Mr. Kim Jong-Hoon, Minister for Trade of the Republic of Korea
  5. H.E. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR
  6. H.E. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia
  7. H.E. U Soe Tha, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar
  8. H.E. Peter B. Favila, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines
  9. H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore
  10. H.E. Pichet Tanchareon, Deputy Minister of Commerce, Thailand
  11. (representing H.E. Chaiya Sasomsub, Minister of Commerce, Thailand)
  12. H.E. Nguyen Cam Tu, Vice Minister, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam
  13. (representing H.E. Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam)
  14. H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN