This is the abstract for the paper I will give at our forthcoming Workshop on Korean Trade and Investment in the Mekong Region, to be held on November 1st and 2nd at the Graduate Campus, BBD Building, 197, Viphawadi-Rangsit Road:
The Republic of Korea offers an example of a country that, largely through its own efforts, rose from being one of the world’s poorest to being a member of the OECD and a leader among Asian nations. Not only does the means by which it used to reach middle income status through rapid economic development and industrialization bear examination but, perhaps even more important, is the means by which it has broken through the Middle Income Trap to reach high income status. Korea has now become well-known not just for its exports of goods but also because of its services – particularly the
cultural productions of the Hallyu or Korean wave of cinema, television, music and fashion. This new phase of development owes as much to the guiding hand of the government as did earlier phases, although the relationships between the public and private sectors and the population as a whole have significantly changed. The role of Korean trade and investment in the Mekong Region (i.e. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunnan province of China) is, therefore, important not just as a phenomenon in its own right but as a means of trying to understand how the trajectory of future development of regional economies might take place. This paper examines the progress of Korean trade and investment across the Mekong region in the past and the present and also considers what future changes might take place. The purpose of the paper is to provide a baseline of data and knowledge about the Korean model so that subsequent presentations can penetrate more deeply into the important issues considered.