South Korea wants to ink free trade pact with Vietnam

TN News

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The Republic of Korea wants to quickly sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam in order to step up its investments in the country, cited South Korean officials as saying.

Jang Mi Yeon of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the trade pact is important to Korea and the country wishes to finalize the deal as soon as possible, explaining that many Korean firms are waiting to further invest in Vietnam.

Korean manufactures want to expand into Vietnam's services sector, said Jong Sang Kim, head of the emerging markets research group at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

The FTA between the two countries is expected to have Vietnam open up several additional sectors to Korean investors, he added.

The two countries launched an initial round of talks in September. The next round is set to be held next year.

Korea already has a pact with ASEAN, of which Vietnam is a member, and it has slashed the bloc's 90 percent tariffs to zero as of 2010, local news media reported.

The trade agreement between Korea and Vietnam promises the latter a tax exemption on items Korea labels as "sensitive" and "highly sensitive," including agricultural products, processed seafood and textiles. Korea is currently charges Vietnam 20 percent tax on such items.

In the first ten months, exports to Korea were valued at US$4.5 billion, accounting for 5 percent of Vietnam's total exports, reported the news website, citing customs data.

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