|Workers at Gia Dinh Garment and Textile Company in HCM City produce clothes for export. Major Vietnamese exports to South Korea included garments and textiles, crude oil and seafood. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
HA NOI (VNS) — The two-way trade between Viet Nam and South Korea hit a record level of US$27.3 billion in 2013, a 29.5 per cent increase over the previous year.
The figures released by the General Department of Customs showed that the bilateral trade has experienced a continuous rise since 2010, especially after Viet Nam's admission to the World Trade Organisation and the signing of the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
Viet Nam's trade deficit of $4.9 billion in 2009 grew to $14.1 billion last year with Viet Nam's imports from South Korea posting a 33.3 per cent increase to $20.7 billion, and accounted for 15.7 per cent of the country's total imports.
The main imports by Viet Nam were computers, electric gadgets and spare parts at a total value of $5.1 billion, which is 54.7 per cent higher from the previous year and accounted for 24.6 per cent of the total imports of these goods.
In addition, Viet Nam's imports of machinery and equipment, spare parts and telephones from South Korea have been high, accounting for half of the total imports of these goods.
Vietnamese exporters earned $6.6 billion from the South Korean market, up 18.9 per cent against the previous year, and accounting for 24.3 per cent of the country's total exports by value.
Major Vietnamese exports to South Korea included garments and textiles ($1.6 billion, up 53.5 per cent), crude oil ($724 million, down 9.3 per cent), and seafood ($512 million).
Viet Nam has sustained an import surplus with South Korea for several years. Several Vietnamese businesses, in particular, importers, have been eager to invest in or explore opportunities in the South Korean market.
Around 9,800 local businesses had trade relations with South Korea in 2012, which increased to 1,100 last year.
Oh Jea Hack, South Korean Consul General, was quoted as saying by the Viet Nam Economics Times newspaper that bilateral trade between the two nations in 1992 was valued at $500 million.
After 20 years of relations, that value has jumped to $21 billion in 2012, representing a forty-fold increase from 1992.
The two countries aim to raise the value of bilateral trade to $70 billion by 2020. — VNS