Connecting Mekong and Korean Business Communities

11:19:30 AM | 9/6/2020

Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), hosted a virtual dialogue with leaders of the Mekong Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chairman of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) to seek consent on organizational structure and operation plans of the Mekong – Republic of Korea Business Council.

Dr. Loc highly appreciated KITA's initiative for cooperation with Mekong countries to hold the online meeting for leaders of Mekong-ROK Business Council to further develop the MOU signed in November 2019. This meeting was of particular significance as the world is struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic that is affecting billions of people.

Vietnam's economy is largely open and heavily influenced by trade and investment activities, he said, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has thus produced a serious impact on the country. In late March, the World Bank forecast Vietnam will achieve a 4.9% growth this year. In the first quarter of 2020, Vietnam's GDP growth grew by 3.82%, lowest in 10 years, but this was still relatively high in the world.

“The Mekong-ROK Business Council will create favorable conditions and opportunities for leaders and businesses from six countries to gather to shape future cooperation,” said Dr. Loc.

South Korea is a leading country in many fields, including infrastructure, information technology, e-government, 5G technology, and digital technology. South Korea - Mekong cooperation in these areas is consistent with South Korea's New Southern Policy.

He suggested that Korea increase investment in the Mekong region, especially focusing on improving transport infrastructure, energy and urban development; sharing experiences on developing information technology, e-government, 5G technology and digital technology; promoting cooperation in education/training programs/projects to improve human resource, technology transfer and expert exchange; and supporting innovative startup projects.

Proposing many important initiatives for the formation and development of the Mekong-ROK Business Council, Dr. Loc said that the cooperation in developing applications and services brings value to society such as smart supply, smart cities and online services.

Besides, he highly appreciated the "Mekong Vision" presented by Korean President Moon Jae-in with three pillars: Prosperity; sustainable growth; and peace and prosperity in East Asia. The Mekong River basin is the lowest point in the ASEAN development ladder. "We want to learn from the experience of the ‘Miracle on the Han River’ to create the 'Miracle on the Mekong River'. If we can do this together, we can close the development gap and create shared prosperity. With the best practices from South Korea and Vietnam, Vietnam wishes to become a bridge to connect South Korea with ASEAN countries as well as the Mekong region,” Dr. Loc affirmed.

At the online meeting, the parties agreed on some main contents to complete the organizational structure, operation plan and operating mechanism of Mekong-ROK Business Council like establishing the Executive Board with chairmanship being rotational among member countries, building fast visa mechanism and special isolation policy, and stabilizing economic and trade cooperation between the parties.

This year, the Mekong-ROK Business Council is expected to host an online conference for Mekong and Korean businesses and a series of other important trade and investment promotion events.

By Huong Ly, Vietnam Business Forum