Scot Marciel [Source : ASEAN-Korea Centre]
Scot Marciel, a senior advisor for BowerGroupAsia, a strategic advisory firm specializing in the Indo-Pacific, visited Seoul to present a keynote speech at the 10th ASEAN Connective Forum held on Thursday. He shared his insights on the potential of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Korea’s relations with the region in an interview with Maeil Business Newspaper.
Asked about ASEAN’s current status, Marciel was optimistic about the region’s great opportunity as countries worldwide are reducing their reliance on China to overcome supply chain disruptions. “A major opportunity lies in the international business community’s interest in diversifying and strengthening supply chains and expanding manufacturing outside of China; many businesses are looking at Southeast Asia for opportunities,” he said.
He also stressed South Korea’s role in Southeast Asia. He advised that the nation should diversify its trade with countries in the region, where 42 percent of its trade comes from Vietnam. “There will be many opportunities for Korean companies in data networks, telecom (including 5G), and finance, as well as in consumer goods and infrastructure. Korea already is viewed favorably in the region,” Marciel said. As none of the ASEAN members want to rely too heavily on China and the U.S., they will welcome opportunities to develop closer relations with Korea, he said.
ASEAN is young and vigorous with continuous population growth. The total population from the 10 members is 660 million, the third-largest in the world. In addition, the young population in the region prefers South Korea, which will offer a good opportunity for its move into the region, he said. According to a survey in the region in 2020, 38.5 percent of respondents favored 5G network partnerships with South Korean firms, while 24.6 percent of them picked China.
The ASEAN Connectivity Forum is an annual event that the ASEAN-Korea Centre hosts to propose cooperation with the region in the areas of transportation, energy, tourism, and labor. This year, the center celebrates its 10th anniversary of the forum.
By Lee Yoo-jin and Jenny Lee
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