SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — Trade between South Korea and Vietnam has grown rapidly since the implementation of their free trade agreement (FTA) two years ago, helped by the semiconductor and information technology sectors, the commerce ministry here said Tuesday.
Bilateral trade stood at $58.5 billion in the first 11 months of this year, up 43 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
Since adopting the FTA in December 2015, two-way exchanges have risen for three consecutive years, making Vietnam South Korea’s fourth-largest trading partner.
Exports to the Southeast Asian nation soared 48.4 percent on-year to $43.7 billion in the January-November period, on semiconductors, displays, wireless communication equipment and electronics parts.
Imports from Vietnam increased 29.2 percent to $14.8 billion over the same period, mostly in wireless communication equipment, clothing and other daily necessities.
With brisk exports, South Korean goods share in the Vietnamese market accounted for 22.3 percent at end-October, coming next to China.
The trade deal also boosted South Korea’s investment in the Southeast Asian nation in the information and technology sector and infrastructure development.
South Korean companies poured a combined $54.5 billion in the first half of this year, becoming the largest source of foreign direct investment of Vietnam, the ministry said.
Over 5,000 Korean companies run businesses in Vietnam, including Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. and Doosan Engineering & Construction Co. They are in the country to take advantage of cheap labor and a growing number of middle-class consumers in the fast-growing economy.