HA NOI — Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and Minister for Trade of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Bark Tae ho officially launched negotiations for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Viet Nam and RoK at a ceremony in Ha Noi yesterday.
At the ceremony, the two ministers agreed to reach a free trade agreement in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organisation while adjusting commitments in the ASEAN-South Korea Free Trade Agreement and considering the development difference between the two countries in trade, services, investment and economic co-operation.
The two ministers also agreed to organise a first round of talks soon to discuss details of the agreement.
South Korea's Minister Bark Tae Ho said since Viet Nam and South Korea established diplomatic relations in 1992, two-way trade turnover between the two countries has increased from US$500 million to nearly $18 billion by 2011.
Bark Tae-ho said that the continued liberalisation of trade and investment through the Viet Nam-South Korea FTA would play an important role in achieving the goal the senior leaders of two countries have set out of bringing the bilateral trade volume above $20 billion before 2015.
Vietnamese Minister Hoang said that Viet Nam would also accelerate the process of negotiating the bilateral Viet Nam-South Korea FTA to have it signed soon. This would benefit both sides.
Bilateral trade turnover between Viet Nam and South Korea reached $17.8 billion last year, making South Korea Viet Nam's fourth largest trading partner in terms of two-way trade turnover after China, the US and Japan.
However, Vietnamese export value to South Korea remains modest. Last year, Viet Nam earned only $4.7 billion from exports to South Korea, accounting for less than 1 per cent of South Korea's total import value. — VNS