1. The Fourth Consultations of the Economic Ministers from ASEAN and the Republic of Korea was held on 24 August 2006 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. H.E. Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia and H.E. Kim Hyun-Chong, Minister for Trade of the Republic of Korea co-chaired the Consultations.

2. The Ministers are pleased to note that trade between ASEAN and Korea continues to grow. Trade flows between ASEAN and Korea stood at more than US$50 billion in 2005 registering a 15 percent increase compared to the 2004 trade flows. They also noted that Korea remains as one of the top ten investors in ASEAN. In 2005, Korea’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to ASEAN was at US$628 million.

3. Recalling the signing of the Agreement on Trade in Goods (TIG) under the ASEAN-Korea Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation in Makati City in May 2006, the Ministers noted that nine ASEAN Member Countries have signed the Agreement. They expressed hope that further consultations on the outstanding issues between Thailand and Korea would be concluded as soon as possible and that Thailand could join the other Parties in the Agreement on Trade in Goods.

4. The Ministers looked forward to the immediate implementation of the TIG Agreement as an impetus to further invigorating trade and investment relations among the Parties. The Agreement is also anticipated to stimulate greater interest from businessmen and investors.

5. The Ministers of the Parties to the Agreement also signed an exchange of notes on ASEAN’s support to Korea’s initiative to develop the Gaesong Industrial Complex.

6. The Ministers noted the progress of the negotiations for the agreements on trade in services and investment and encouraged all Parties to expedite their completion The Ministers stressed that the challenges in negotiating the two agreements could be overcome with greater understanding of each others’ circumstances and through the exercise of greater flexibility to move forward the negotiations in services and investment, and bring them to fruition.

7. The Ministers noted the initial outcomes of the inaugural meeting of the ASEAN-Korea Working Group on Economic Cooperation and emphasised the important role of economic cooperation in supporting and facilitating the realisation of the free trade area between ASEAN and Korea.

____________________________

List of Ministers

  1. Mr. Lim Jock Hoi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam
  2. H.E. Dr. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia
  3. H.E. Dr. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia
  4. H.E. Dr. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR
  5. H.E. Mr. Kim Hyun-Chong, Minister for Trade, Republic of Korea
  6. H.E. Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia
  7. H.E. U Soe Tha, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar
  8. H.E. Mr. Peter B. Favila, Secretary of Trade and Industry, The Philippines
  9. H.E. Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore
  10. Ms. Apiradi Tantraporn, Director-General, Ministry of Commerce Thailand
  11. H.E. Mr. Truong Dinh Tuyen, Minister of Trade, Viet Nam
  12. H.E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN