SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s exports to Vietnam have spiked over 10 percent so far this year, making it the world’s third-largest importer of South Korean goods, data showed Thursday.
In the January-July period, shipments to Vietnam jumped 10.1 percent on-year to US$18.02 billion, according to the data from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
The amount marks the world’s third-largest, after the $68.52 billion worth of goods shipped to China and the $39.63 billion to the United States over the cited period.
Shipments to Vietnam also accounted for 6.4 percent of South Korea’s overall exports over the seven-month period, up more than threefold from 2 percent in 2009.
Although shipments to Vietnam have sharply risen, South Korea’s exports have been in a prolonged slump, falling every single month since the start of 2015.
Also in the first seven months of the year, shipments to China, the world’s largest importer of South Korean products, plunged 13.5 percent on-year, while exports to the United States also slipped 5.4 percent.
The increase in shipments to Vietnam was largely attributed to the countries’ bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) that went into effect late last year, further promoting trade between the countries that had already been on a steady rise following the 2007 implementation of South Korea’s FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to which Vietnam is a member.
Market analysts said Vietnam’s demand for South Korean products still has room to further grow.
“Vietnam continues to house a growing number of global manufacturers at its major industrial complexes, but the firms there are facing difficulties in securing necessary materials and parts from the local market,” said Moon Byeong-ki, a researcher from the Institute for International Trade, a think tank run by KITA.
“The rise in Vietnam’s imports of industrial parts and materials is expected to continue for some time.”