1. The Second Consultation between the ASEAN Economic Ministers and the Minister for Trade of Korea was held on 28 September 2005 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Soulivong Daravong, Minister of Commerce of Lao PDR; and H.E. Kim Hyun-Chong, Minister for Trade of the Republic of Korea.
2. The Ministers underscored the importance they attach to the on-going consultations which serve as a vehicle to exchange views on regional and international issues and to deliberate on strategies to intensify ASEAN-Korea economic relations leading towards the establishment of the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Area (AKFTA).
3. The Ministers noted that the last three years (2002-2004) have seen ASEAN-Korea bilateral goods trade expand at an annual growth rate of 12.9%. From 2003 to 2004, total trade grew by 20.4% or US$33.5 billion in 2003 to US$40.3 billion in 2004. The first quarter of 2005 has already seen an increase of 18% as compared to the first quarter figures of 2004, i.e. from US$ 9.3 billion to US$ 11.0 billion. Korea remains to be ASEAN’s fifth largest trading partner.
4. Korea is also a major source of FDI flows. Data, compiled by the ASEAN Secretariat from Member Countries’ Central Banks and Central Statistical Officers, show that FDI flows from Korea from 2003 to 2004 expanded by almost 42% or from US$ 632 million in 2003 to US$ 896 million in 2004.
ASEAN-KOREA FREE TRADE AREA (FTA)
5. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to establish the ASEAN-Korea FTA within the deadlines and parameters specified by the Leaders in their Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Economic between ASEAN and Korea issued in 2004. The Ministers were pleased with the progress made on the negotiations for the AKFTA and commended the ASEAN-Korea Trade Negotiating Committee for its relentless efforts in moving forward the FTA negotiations. The Ministers expressed optimism that with flexibility and greater understanding of each other’s needs and sensitivities, the AKFTA negotiations will be completed even before the mandated two-year timeframe.
6. Recalling that the AKFTA will be realized at an earlier date, that is, at least 80% of products shall have zero tariffs in 2009, the Ministers agreed to work towards completing the elimination of import duties on at least 90% of products at an early date mutually agreed by all Parties. The Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to accord special and differential treatment and additional flexibility for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam.
7. The Ministers also reiterated their support for the early accession of Lao PDR and Viet Nam into the WTO.
LIST OF MINISTERS
The Meeting was attended by:
(i) H.E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam;
(ii) H.E. Mr. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;
(iii) H.E. Ms. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister for Trade, Indonesia;
(iv) H.E. Mr. Kim Hyun-chong, Minister for Trade, Republic of Korea;
(v) H.E. Mr. Soulivong Daravong, Minister of Commerce, Lao PDR;
(vi) H.E. Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;
(vii) H.E. U Soe Tha, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar;
(viii) H.E. Mr. Elmer C. Hernandez, Undersecretary for Trade and Industry, Philippines;
(ix) H.E. Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
(x) H.E. Mr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Thailand;
(xi) H.E. Mr. Truong Dinh Tuyen, Minister of Trade, Viet Nam; and
(xii) H.E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN