By Yoon Ja-young
Economic ministers of 51 Asian and European countries will gather in Seoul next week to discuss measures for inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
The seventh ASEM Economic Ministers' Meeting (EMM), hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, will be held at COEX in southern Seoul on Sept. 21 and 22.
Launched in 1996, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) comprises 20 Asian and 31 European countries.
ASEM has been holding summits as well as ministerial meetings to strengthen ties between Asian and European countries. The economic ministers' meeting, however, hasn't taken place since 2005.
During the ASEM EMM they will discuss facilitation of trade and investment, industrial cooperation and promotion of interaction between businesses for sustainable economic growth in Asia and Europe.
At the meeting in Seoul, around 250 delegates from 51 Asian and European countries including economic, trade, or industry ministers as well as those representing ASEAN and the EU will gather under the theme "innovative partnership for inclusive prosperity of Asia and Europe."
The agenda has three key tasks: facilitating and promoting trade and investment, strengthening economic connectivity, and sustainable and inclusive growth.
On the first day, participants will first coordinate their ideas in a regional meeting, which will be followed by a drafting session.
On the second day, there will be plenary sessions where ministers will discuss each of the three key tasks. There will be press conferences to share meeting outcomes.
There will also be bilateral meetings among major participants to discuss economic cooperation.
On the sidelines of the ASEM EMM, there will be diverse events including forums, seminars and exhibitions next week, which was designated as ASEM Week by the government.
The Young Leaders Summit, scheduled Sept. 17 to 21, will have 150 young leaders from 51 countries participating, coming from diverse sectors including startups, businesses and universities.
They will discuss issues such as future jobs, entrepreneurship and innovation, challenges and opportunities, from the perspective of young people. The event is hosted by the Asia-Europe Foundation.
At the Global Eco-Innovation Forum scheduled for Sept. 19 and 20, there will be discussions to promote sustainable consumption and production by small and medium-sized businesses.
There will also be a joint forum by Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Asian Development Bank, which will examine how to bolster cooperation and enhance the competitive edge of businesses in their advancement into overseas markets.
At the Asia-Europe Economic Forum on Sept. 20 and 21, economic experts from the two continents will look into pending economic and trade issues. They will also provide advice for economic policy makers of the ASEM member countries gathering for the meeting.
The Global Materials Tech Fair scheduled for Sept. 22, meanwhile, will provide a glimpse into global trends in the materials and components industries, in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. There will be a forum on Korea's policy direction on this issue as well.
"We hope it will provide an opportunity for Asia and Europe to establish innovative partnerships for inclusive prosperity," an official in charge of the ASEM EMM Preparatory Group said.
By Yoon Ja-young