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Lao coffee producers eye South Korean market

SEOUL, South Korea – Nine Lao companies, most of them food producers, joined with a hundred firms from other Asean nations to exhibit their goods at an international trade fair in Seoul, South Korea, hoping to give Korean customers a taste of the region. Asean Korea Centre Secretary General, Mr Kim Young Sun last week led representatives from 10 Asean nations to cut ribbons to mark the Official Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Asean Fair at the COEX B1 Hall.

“The timing of the Asean Fair can’t be any better as it takes place just as the Asean Economic Community is to be announced. The realisation of the community will bring an era of deepened collaboration and co prosperity between Asean and Korea,” Mr Kim Young Sun said at the opening ceremony.

He said the fair did not only aim to provide opportunities for Asean and Korea to enhance economic cooperation but also promote better understanding and tourism between Asean and Korean people.

According to a media release from the Asean Centre, which is hosting the fair, business matching sessions between Asean and Korean partners were scheduled to be held during the event following a seminar for business and government officials from Asean on how to export their goods to Korea.

An official from Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mr Saykham Phommakhod, who led Lao businesses to the fair, said there were opportunities for Lao food producers to enter the Korean market as the strength of Lao products was their premium quality and organic nature.

“One of the potential products which we can export to the Korean market is coffee,” he said.

Dao Heuang Group Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Mr Thanousinh Vongdoern said his company was looking to export roasted and instant coffee to the Korean market after finding that Korean consumers liked the taste of Lao coffee.

“I will hold talks with a Korean business partner to discuss the possibility of exporting our products here,” he said, adding that many Korean tourists who visited Laos purchased large amounts of Dao Coffee to take back to their country.

At present, the main export market for Dao Coffee was Thailand, China, Cambodia and Singapore. Korea was a new market which they expected to enter in the near future, he said.

Sinouk Coffee is also one of the companies which sees potential in the Korean market after learning of consumer demand for quality coffee.