Vietnam and South Korea on Monday announced the launch of talks on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).
At the launching ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and his South Korean counterpart Bark Tae Ho agreed that the FTA would be in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and that adjustments will be made to the ASEAN-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, considering the development difference between the two countries.
They said the two sides will hold the first round of talks next month.
The FTA between South Korea and ASEAN, of which Vietnam is a member, came into effect in June 2007. But South Korea's key exports are not included in the pact with ASEAN, so Seoul is seeking separate FTAs with each ASEAN member country.
Bilateral trade turnover between Vietnam and South Korea reached $17.8 billion last year, making South Korea Vietnam's fourth largest trading partner in terms of two-way trade turnover after China, the US and Japan, according to a Vietnam News Agency report.