SIEM REAP, 27 October 2017 – In the global economy today, public-private partnerships (PPP) are becoming more important. In light of this, more than 90 delegates from public and private sectors of ASEAN and Korea met in a forum to develop a mutually beneficial cooperation for SME development, export, and linkages for ASEAN and the Republic of Korea.

The two-day forum was held to discuss how to operationalise the sectoral board initiative as proposed by the ASEAN-Korea Business Council (AKBC) and the two-way track SME development recommendations to enhance market access and internationalisation.

The forum also aimed to provide more business linkage opportunities for ASEAN and Korean MSMEs, ranging from advanced manufacturing to service industries, particularly for ASEAN and Korea priority sectors namely steel and steel products, healthcare, tourism, e-commerce, logistic, agricultural products, etc. Further, the forum identified several priority sectors for the sectoral board initiative and it will be proposed and used as the reference for further consultation with the Republic of Korea to advance the initiative.

ASEAN – Korea economic cooperation has progressed in the last ten years under ASEAN – Korea Free Trade Area (AKFTA), as demonstrated by the increase in bilateral trade of 92.3 percent to USD 118.84 billion in 2016 and increase of investment from Korea to 5.4 times since the AKFTA took effect. Such milestones have made ASEAN as Korea’s second largest trading partner and Korea’s second largest investment destination.

Meanwhile, among ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, Korea has kept its position as ASEAN’s fifth largest trading partner and ASEAN’s fifth largest investor FDI. Looking at these achievement, the Leaders at the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in December 2014 had set a new target USD 200 billion of two-way trade volume by 2020.

“If you want to go fast, you go alone, but if you want to go far, you go together,” said Mr. Luy David, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, highlighting the importance of partnership between ASEAN and Korea for economic cooperation particularly in MSME development.

The forum participants included representatives from the relevant ministries of ASEAN Member States, the Republic of Korea, ASEAN-Korea Centre, AKBC, ASEAN-Business Advisory Council, private sectors nominated by ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as well as regional experts in MSMEs sector.

This event was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia in close collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia and with support from the ASEAN Secretariat and funded by the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund (AKCF).

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