Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Commission Kim Yong-beom (Photo: Yonhap)
Two-way trade between the Republic of Korea (RoK) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is expected to reach 160 billion USD this year as Seoul seeks to bolster ties with the 10-member regional bloc.
Kim Yong-beom, Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), revealed the figure at an annual meeting with ambassadors from the Southeast Asian nations and India.
In the first 10 months of this year, bilateral trade between the RoK and ASEAN hit 132.1 billion USD, up 7.6 percent on-year, Kim told the meeting.
The RoK’s financial firms are also expected to expand their operations in ASEAN member countries, he said.
The number of branches of Korean financial companies in ASEAN and India stood at 162, Kim said, adding that the flow of tourists between the two sides are forecast to exceed 10 million this year.
The RoK has sought stronger economic relations with ASEAN under President Moon Jae-in's "New Southern Policy" to reduce its heavy reliance on China. It set a goal of raising bilateral trade to 200 billion USD by 2020.
The ASEAN, comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, is currently the world’s second biggest importer of Korean products, just behind China./.