ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Viet Nam, RoK sign free trade pact
Viet Nam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have officially signed a free trade agreement (FTA) after over two years of negotiations, which will help Viet Nam's exports to enjoy new opportunities thanks to strong commitments from the RoK to open its market.
The transparent and open legal environment created by the FTA is also expected to encourage investment from the RoK in Viet Nam, alongside high technology, advanced management capacity and opportunities to approach third-party markets.
With 17 chapters, 208 articles, 15 appendices and one agreement specifying commitment delivery, the deal was signed by Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and RoK Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jick in Ha Noi yesterday. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung witnessed the signing ceremony.
The agreement covers commodity and service trade, investment, intellectual property, food hygiene and plant quarantine, rules of origin, customs facilitation, trade protection, technical barriers in trade, e-commerce, competition, economic co-operation and legal regulations.
Under the agreement, the RoK will help Viet Nam to develop and enforce policies and competitiveness in agro-forestry-fisheries, electronic technology, petrochemical and oil refineries and support industries.
The Viet Nam – RoK FTA is expected to have positive repercussions across Viet Nam, including generating jobs, especially for low skilled labourers, and reducing poverty and hunger in rural areas.
The two countries will proceed with the ratification of the agreement following the legal system in each country.
PM meets RoK minister
On the same day, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with RoK Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jick.
Dung appreciated the efforts made by the two delegations and said the agreement would promote the relationship between the two countries across economics, trade, investment and tourism.
Co-operation was vital to the smooth and effective implementation of the agreement, he said.
He hoped the RoK would provide technical support for Viet Nam in the implementation of the agreement and create favourable conditions for Vietnamese agro-products to enter the RoK market and reduce the widening RoK surplus.
The co-operation potential between the two countries was still very large, the PM said, adding that the Vietnamese government attached importance to the relationship and was willing to work with the RoK government to deepen the relationship, making it more practical and effective for the benefit and development of both countries.
He also asked both countries to work together to accelerate the tech start-up park project in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.
The RoK minister said that the signing of the agreement was the result of great efforts by the two delegations under the direction of the two governments.
He committed to working closely with the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade to promote trade exchange, especially exports of Vietnamese agro-products to the RoK and the implementation of the tech start-up park in Can Tho.
The RoK is currently the biggest investor in Viet Nam with pledges totalling US$38 billion in more than 42,000 projects as of March 2015, according to government data. The two countries target $70 billion in trade by 2020. The 2014 figure hit $30.3 billion.
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