Korea deepens footprint in Vietnam

09:12 | 01/05/2017 Cooperation

(VEN) - 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea, and the third year of the free trade agreement between the two countries (KVFTA). Economic cooperation and trade between businesses of the two sides have expanded.  

Vietnam Expo 2017 attracted the participation of businesses from 23 countries and territories, with South Korea topping the list for the highest number of participants

Vietnamese potential

The 27th Vietnam International Trade Fair, Vietnam Expo 2017, held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) and the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company (Vinexad), took place at the Hanoi International Center for Exhibition from April 19-22, with the participation of businesses from 23 countries and territories. The Republic of Korea (RoK), with 60 exhibitors, had the highest number of participants.

At a press conference announcing Vietnam Expo 2017, Park Chul Ho, General Director of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in Hanoi, said that Vietnam and the RoK can assist each other in industrial development, bilateral trade relations have expanded and South Korean businesses are very interested in seeking investment opportunities in Vietnam.

The Korean companies exhibiting their wares at 136 stations are expecting that participation in the fair will open up opportunities to invest in Vietnam. The successful operations of South Korean companies in Vietnam reflect the effectiveness of this approach.

South Korean companies participated in the fair not only to introduce a wide range of products, including food, beverages, cosmetics, beauty care products, electrical and electronic appliances, household utensils, but also to seek opportunities for trade and cooperation with Vietnamese partners. These products are subject to the tariff reduction roadmap specified in the KVFTA signed in late 2015.

South Korean companies are aware of the potential of the Vietnamese market. A representative of the Partron Co. Ltd, which opened an electronic component manufacturing plant in Vinh Phuc Province in 2008, said the company would be willing to participate in Vietnam Expo next time.

The Samsung Group has invested in six projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of US$11.3 billion. It has become the largest foreign investor in Vietnam, contributing 18 percent to the country’s total export value.
South Korean investment projects in Vietnam have generated jobs for 700,000 workers and contribute about 30 percent to the country’s total export value.

Opportunities for Vietnam

Vietrade Director Bui Huy Son said at the press conference that Vietnam Expo 2017 not only offered participating companies a place to present and sell their products, but also created a forum for them to seek long-term cooperation opportunities.
To promote exports along with boosting domestic sales, businesses which have won the Vietnam Value title, such as Hanoi Trade Corporation (Hapro) and Da Nang Rubber Joint Stock Company, are seeking foreign partners in their home market.

A representative of the Phong Chau Company Limited said that participation in Vietnam Expo had helped the company find potential domestic and foreign partners. The company is one of the leading footwear manufacturers in Vietnam and has exported its products to Mexico, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Japan and the Middle East.

Although South Korea is a developed country with high requirements for imported products, this market is not as discerning as the EU, the US and Japan. Therefore, increased trade with South Korea will help Vietnamese businesses get ready for penetration into more discerning markets.

From the viewpoint of a state management authority, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said it is willing to answer any business question about FTAs. For their part, businesses need to take the initiative in learning about FTAs, while at the same time striving to improve the quality and build brands for their products.

Some 3,000 South Korean firms currently operate in Vietnam, while about 40,000 Vietnamese people are working in South

Korea. These companies and workers have significantly contributed to trade and investment relations between the two

countries. Data from the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment show that South Korean

companies registered to invest US$3.75 billion in Vietnam in the first three months of 2017 – raising total registered South

Korean investment in Vietnam to US$54 billion so far, and turning the RoK into the largest foreign investor in Vietnam.

Nhat Quang