With the full integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community this year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) commits to the ASEAN – Republic of Korea (ROK) strategic partnership’s vision on global and regional community that builds and enhances trust among its members.

In his message read by Board of Investments (BOI) Director Angelica M. Cayas during the 1st Korea – ASEAN Grand Project Partnership Forum, DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr. commended the Korean business community for its vital role and contribution not only to our country’s economy but to ASEAN.

“South Korea’s active support in the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community has certainly been favorable as we endeavor to increase connectivity and address common challenges in the region,” Manalo said.

He cited that one of these challenges is the attainment of inclusive growth, where development generates employment and reduces poverty if sustained.

“This forum is an expedient platform to discuss and address such issue, as it provides matching opportunities for project developers with prospective suppliers in the fields of infrastructure, power plant operations and maintenance, and climate change preparedness,” Manalo said.

He added that the continuous development on these areas is one of the key drivers to sustained growth among the ASEAN member states in the long term.

“I trust that this would not be the last and the least of our efforts to further strengthen our existing collaboration and build new ones,” Manalo said.

Korea-ASEAN Grand Project Partnership was held to support Korean firms entering the ASEAN market. During the forum, three Korean and three Philippine companies have signed memoranda of agreement. It was attended by 72 Korean businessmen, 46 Philippine senior officials, and about 200 attendees from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

On the second day of the event, 250 one-on-one business meetings were held for 31 Korean companies, 60 Philippine organizations, and 22 ASEAN delegates.

“I am optimistic that this mission will bring the ASEAN – ROK relations to new heights and help the delegates here today to realize and invest in the full potential of our country,” Manalo said.

Manalo said that the ASEAN and South Korea remain important trading partners, with South Korea maintaining its position as the fifth largest trading partner of ASEAN, and ASEAN becoming the second largest trade partner of South Korea. The foreign direct investment flow from South Korea to ASEAN also increased by 105.88 percent in 2013.

He noted that South Korea has continuously kept its strong position in terms of trade and investments in our country. It ranked as the Philippines’ 5th major trading partner, 7th export market, and 4th import supplier. It placed as the 11th top investing foreign country with investment promotion agencies-approved investments amounting to US$93.21 million pledges last year. (END)