Vietnam and South Korea on Tuesday signed a bilateral free trade agreement in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, concluding the countries' two-year talks. The deal, which was initiated a month back, will enable the trade between the two nations to reach $70 billion a year by 2020, the Vietnamese government said in a statement, citing Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang, according to Reuters.
Under the Korea-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Vietnam will reduce import duties for all South Korean products by nearly 90 percent over a period of 15 years, which could boost South Korea’s economy by 3 percent over the next decade. South Korea also agreed to cut import duties by over 95 percent for Vietnamese goods.
Seoul is reportedly seeking to implement the deal before the year's end.
"The Korea-Vietnam FTA will be a key example of a mutually beneficial FTA by expanding South Korean firms' investment in Vietnam while also boosting trade between the two countries,” South Korean Trade Minister Yoon Sang-jick was quoted as saying by the Korea Herald.
The first round of negotiations for the agreement with Vietnam was held in August 2012, following which the two countries held eight more rounds of talks before striking a deal late last year. At that time, bilateral trade between the two countries had reportedly reached over $30 billion.