SEOUL, Sept. 15 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s exports to Vietnam have jumped this year despite a slump in other overseas markets, industry data showed Tuesday, prompting local firms to rush to strengthen business ties with their Southeast Asian counterparts.
In the first seven months of the year, exports to Vietnam surged 29.9 percent on-year, emerging as a new major destination for South Korean goods, according to the data.
Last year, the Southeast Asian country jumped up two spots to rank as South Korea’s No. 4 export market, accounting for 5.2 percent of Seoul’s outgoing shipments, up from the 3.9 percent tallied in the previous year.
With exports to Vietnam rising at a fast clip, South Korean trading firms are looking to boost partnerships with major corporations in the Southeast Asian country.
The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) invited 17 major state-run and private firms from Vietnam on Monday to business sessions in Seoul to promote potential cooperation with South Korean companies in the construction, petrochemicals, textile and auto sectors.
The combined annual revenue of the 17 Vietnamese companies is US$25 billion, according to KOTRA.
South Korea and Vietnam have been boosting their trade ties. The two countries signed a free trade agreement in May, under which Hanoi will remove its import duties on 89.9 percent of all products from South Korea over a 15-year period following its implementation, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Seoul will do the same on 95.4 percent, or 11,668 out of the total 12,232 products, imported from Vietnam.
Bilateral trade between the two countries came to more than $30 billion last year, the most since the two established diplomatic ties in 1992.