$150B bilateral trade in sight for Vietnam, S Korea

By Duc Minh   June 27, 2023 | 12:16 am PT
$150B bilateral trade in sight for Vietnam, S Korea
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speak to 50 South Korean and Vietnamese digital experts on June 24, 2023. Photo by Vietnam Government Portal
The recent visit of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is considered a prerequisite for the two countries to reach bilateral trade of $150 billion.

"Restoring trade momentum" and "deepening the horizontal cooperative relationship between the two countries" are key tasks amid a challenging global economy, President Yoon told Vietnamese and South Korean businesses in a meeting last week.

In Vietnam, a center of supply chain restructuring and emerging consumer market, solutions can be found to recover a troubling South Korean economy, he said.

The two countries are on the path of reaching new bilateral relationship in innovation, digital transformation, and high-tech, he added.

Choi Sang-mok, senior advisor for economic affairs of the Office of the President, considered Yoon's visit to be a significant development as well as a premise for the two countries to pursue their ambition to achieve trade turnover $150 billion by 2030.

Last year, bilateral trade stood at $87.7 billion, and Vietnam was the third largest trading partner of South Korea, after China and the United States.

South Korea was also one of the biggest foreign investors in Vietnam.

Presidents of many large family corporations in South Korea accompanied President Yoon, and said that Vietnam is considered a leading production base.

Chey Tea-won, chairman of SK Group and the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, considers Vietnam the best place to invest thanks to its political stability.

A total 111 MOUs were signed during President Yoon's visit. Among them, 54 were in the fields of defense, consumer goods, health care, and food; 28 on setting up supply chains, and future cooperation; with the rest related to technology.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said: "I hope South Korean businesses will continue to make breakthroughs to achieve three or four times more results in the coming years."

Nguyen Anh Duc, general director of Saigon Co.op and chairman of Vietnam Retailers Association, said that President Yoon’s visit was a golden opportunity for Vietnamese companies to boost cooperation and to stand on the shoulders of the giants.

Vietnamese companies can take advantage of South Korean technology and increase exports. But they need to be well prepared, otherwise they might lose out.

The Vietnamese and South Korean governments also made commitments for long-term collaboration.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of Korea signed an MOU on the establishment of Korea Plus in Vietnam and Vietnam Plus in Korea.

These units aim to facilitate the expansion of bilateral trade to $150 billion by 2030.

"The two countries agreed to strengthen public-private consultation channels to solve import-export difficulties and activities of South Korean companies in Vietnam," a South Korean foreign trade official told the Korea Times.

The two countries will also establish a Vietnam-South Korea Important Mineral Supply Chain Center to take advantage of Vietnam’s rich resources and South Korea’s high added-value technologies.

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