Korea and Vietnam Execute Free Trade Agreement Deal
luvsmiling, Dec. 11, 2014, 11:48 a.m.
Seoul and Hanoi are on the brink of signing a free trade deal after two years and four months of negotiations. After a summit with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Busan on Wednesday, President Park Geun-hye said the two countries virtually concluded free trade negotiations. Nguyen is visiting Korea for a special Korea-ASEAN Summit on Thursday and Friday.
With the FTA, Korea's exports of industrial products to Vietnam are likely to increase as tariffs will be phased out over the next 10 years on cars, home appliances, and cosmetics. Some Korean agricultural produce, such as rice, chili peppers, onions and green tea have been left out. But import duties on Vietnamese fishery products and tropical fruit will be abolished. This will put more pressure on the Korean agricultural and fisheries industries.
Vietnam, with its population of 93.42 million, is Korea's ninth largest trading partner. Last year, Korea exported US$21 billion worth of goods to Vietnam and imported $7.1 billion worth. The two countries maintain free trade relations through the Korea-ASEAN FTA. But they started separate talks in August 2012 as the Korea-ASEAN FTA has brought less tangible progress than Korea's FTAs with the U.S. and the EU.