The International Workshop on Korean Trade and Investment in the Mekong Region, supported by the Academy of Korean Studies, has been successfully held at Shinawatra University on November 1st and 2nd. The session was opened by the Provost, Assistant Prof. Dr. Chanchai Bunchapattanasakda and then the three keynote speakers gave their presentations.
The first was Group Captain Surapol Navamavadhana, adviser to the Minister of ICT, who spoke about Korea’s policies relating to internet security and how these are being adapted in the case of Thailand.
The second speaker was Mrs. Suwatana Kmolwatananisa, Assistant Governor of the Industrial Estates Authority of Thailand, who spoke about the ways in which the IEAT is attracting Korean and other investment to Thailand.
The third and final keynote speaker was Mr. Thanaphon Charawanitwong, Plan and Policy Analyst for the Department of Traffic at the Ministry of Transport. He spoke about Thailand’s transportation infrastructure polices as part of the mega-projects and linking with the Asian Highway Network.
We then moved on to the academic paper presentations. I gave an Overview of Korean Trade and Investment in the Mekong Region and then Associate Prof. Suravuth Pratishthananda spoke on the subject of Korean engagement with Thailand’s water infrastructure, principally through the activities of K Water.
After lunch, we then had a presentation from Phramaha Min Phutthithanasombat and Dr. Petcharat Lovichakorntikul about the prospects and issues involved with opening a Korean restaurant in Cambodia.
Following this, Ms. Nancy Huyen Nguyen, a researcher into Southeast Asian-Latin American links at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, spoke about Korean trade and investment over the course of two decades in Vietnam.
Next up was Associate Prof. Dr. Teresita Del Cruz-Rosario, formerly of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, who spoke about the Korean involvement in the Land Grabs in the Mekong Region.
Sorry about the quality of that photo – there are bound to be better ones at the library website (http://library.siu.ac.th). Anyway, I switched back to the other side for Dr. Lavanchawee Sujarittananonta’s presentation on the Korean Hallyu and its impact on young people in the Mekong Region.
The following morning, we kicked off with Dr. Nittana Southiseng, SME Development Specialist at the Mekong Institute in Khon Kaen, who spoke about Korean trade and investment in Laos – the Land of Ample Opportunities, apparently.
The second speaker of the morning was Mr. Ye Tun Min, a doctoral candidate at our campus in Mandalay, who spoke about prospects for healthy food and herbs in Myanmar for production and export to Korea.
The final speaker was Dr. Sittichai Anantarangsi, who spoke about the experiences of Thai workers in Korean companies in Thailand.
There was a good turnout for the opening session and as many as 20 attendants for the second day as well. We are planning a second event on these lines and hope to use the model for workshops and conferences on other themes – the combination of a focused theme and giving extended time to speakers (45 minutes each) was I think successful in promoting interest and discussion. Until the next time.