Viet Nam News
SEOUL — The annual ASEAN Trade Fair, themed “Taste the Happiness”, kicked off on Wednesday in Seoul, displaying food and beverage products from the ten ASEAN member states.
The event was organised by the ASEAN – Korea Centre, an intergovernmental organisation that promotes economic and socio-cultural cooperation between the ASEAN member states and South Korea, with the participation of ASEAN ambassadors in Korea.
The 2017 ASEAN Trade Fair is held as part of the Food Week Korea 2017, the largest international exhibition in South Korea. ASEAN-Korea has been participating in the exhibition since 2009. Last year, over 1,500 meetings between Korean buyers and ASEAN companies were conducted and contracts worth over US$2 million were signed.
“There is a growing interest among the Korean consumers and buyers in unique and high-quality food and beverage products from ASEAN. Despite the demand, a variety of ASEAN products have not been introduced to the Korean market yet. I hope the ASEAN Trade Fair will offer a platform not only for the Korean buyers to explore business opportunities with ASEAN partners but also for the general public to enjoy and better understand ASEAN through food,” said Secretary General of the ASEAN-Korea Centre Kim Young-sun in a speech at the opening of the event.
Cambodian ambassador Long Dimanche said, “This is the 9th ASEAN Trade Fair. They are adding value and benefits to ASEAN food and beverage products through the exhibit to the potential Korean partners.”
There is a wide selection of food and beverages, among which are healthy fruit purees and high quality fish sauce from Việt Nam, organic Cambodian pepper, exotic sauces and seasonings of Thailand, organic robusta and arabica coffee from Indonesia, dried vegetables and fruits from Laos, honey from Brunei Darussalam to various kinds of pasta and noodles from Malaysia, aromatic green tea of Myanmar and organic spices of the Philippines.
Besides product exhibition, the event also offered one-on-one business meetings between ASEAN business delegations and Korean buyers for potential business opportunities. Visitors joined coffee and tea tasting events and barista demonstrations.
In conjunction with the Fair, the seminar themed “Trade Facilitation Seminar on Food Industry between ASEAN and Korea” for the representatives of the participating ASEAN companies was held on October 24. The seminar provided participants with the latest update about the development of the Korean food industry; the distribution system, sourcing trends, safety control policy for imported foods, technology trends and regulations for food packaging in Korea.
Nguyễn Thị Thi Thơ, International Sales Manager of Việt Nam Richy Food Southern Joint Stock Company, which introduced their rice crackers and confectionaries in the fair, told the Việt Nam News, “This is a good opportunity for us to find the partners and customers. Face-to-face negotiation is always better than working online because it helps to create trust from the partners”.
Currently ASEAN is South Korea’s second largest trading partner. Last year, ASEAN-Korea trade volume reached US$119 billion, accounting for 13 per cent of Korea’s total trade volume.
Among ASEAN member states, Việt Nam is Korea’s largest trade partner with goods worth $45.1 billion exchanged in 2016, followed by Singapore ($19.3 billion) and Malaysia ($15 million). — VNS