VIETNAM NEWS/ANN: The sixth Asean Connectivity Forum, the only forum on investment in Asean countries, opened on Tuesday in Seoul, South Korea.
Home to 640 million people, Asean has a GDP of $2.8 trillion and average annual growth of five per cent. Asean is currently the world’s fifth-largest economic power, playing an increasingly important role in the broader global economy. The region is the second largest trading partner of the Republic of Korea (RoK).
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Lee Hyuk, Secretary General of Asean-Korea Centre said: “Asean is Korea’s third largest investment destination with investment of $5 billion last year.”
According to RoK President Moon Jae-in, Korea’s New Southern Policy looks to deepen the country’s engagement with Asean and bridge the economic gap between Korea and the region.
The New Southern Policy sets a target to reach $200 billion in bilateral trade by 2020, and to double the annual Asean-RoK Fund to $14 million by next year.
The “Asean - Korea Infrastructure Fund” is expected to raise $100 million by 2022 to promote mutual co-operation in the four key areas of transportation, energy, water resources and smart cities.
“Korea is currently Vietnam’s top investor at $61.5 billion,” Nguyen Viet Cuong, Deputy Head of the Statistics and Information Division from the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, told Viet Nam News. “The relationship between Korea and Vietnam has been developing well and we see steady growth of registered investment of $5 billion a year.”
Vietnam calls on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) investment to upgrade the country’s ailing 3,000km plus railway system at the forum.
Tran Viet Dung, head of the PPP office under MPI said that Vietnam is still in its infant stage in building smart cities.
“Binh Duong, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City have been chosen to start towards a smart city plan, but we need to build a common e-platform to work out necessary criteria, define resources and choose a starting point,” he said.
The four-day forum will conclude on Thursday.