ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
South Korean firms want free-trade deals ratified
Forty-two business associations of the Republic of Korea (RoK) have called for quick approval of free trade agreements (FTAs) with Viet Nam, China and New Zealand to help boost exports.
In their letter sent to their National Assembly on Sunday, the organisations said the implementation of the trade deals was urgently needed as the RoK was facing unfavourable conditions, and feared that its economic growth rate could sink to below three per cent this year.
They said once the FTAs with the three countries come into force, RoK companies would be able to benefit from reduced tariffs on two separate occasions, the implementation date and January 1, 2016.
The RoK inked the bilateral trade deal with New Zealand in November last year, while its FTAs with Viet Nam and China were signed in early May this year and in June, respectively.
Exports, the RoK's key growth engine, have dropped for the seventh straight month this year, affecting the fourth largest economy in Asia amidst a global economic slowdown, global oil price fall and currency fluctuations.
Viet Nam has beaten Japan for the first time to become the fourth largest importer of products from the Republic of Korea in the first seven months of this year.
According to statistics from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) that was published on Sunday, the RoK's exports to Viet Nam reached US$16.35 billion, while that to Japan was worth $15.48 billion.
The RoK's shipments of wireless communication device components to Viet Nam shot up by 29.9 per cent from the same period last year. An RoK official said exports to Japan plunged by 19.3 per cent, spurred by Japanese yen devaluation and low oil prices.
In the same period, the RoK raked in $79.13 billion from selling products to mainland China, $41.92 billion from exports to the United States and $16.87 billion from exports to Hong Kong.
Last year, the RoK generated $22.35 billion from shipments to Viet Nam, lower than the amount gained from Japan that stood at $32.18 billion. Meanwhile, the country earned $145.29 billion and $70.28 billion from exports to China and the United States, respectively.
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