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ASEAN-RoK FTA to boost Viet Nam’s exports
02 | 06 | 2007
The ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will give Viet Nam the chance to boost exports to the RoK but the country has to brace itself for stiff competition, an expert has said.
The opportunity has come following an FTA between the RoK and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, except Thailand which has yet to sign, on removal of tariff barriers against 92 percent of export and import items in 2010.

Following the FTA, effective from June 1, Vietnamese products such as including coffee, tropical fruits and rice, will be able to penetrate the RoK market.

Under the FTA, the first trade agreement made between the RoK with an economic bloc, the RoK will give tax exemption to 7,991 out of 12,063 products while ASEAN countries will reduce taxes to 0-5 percent on 45 percent of products in the list.

ASEAN countries have agreed to apply preferential taxes on commodities which are produced in Kaesong Industrial Park, a joint venture between the RoK and the Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Preferential taxes will help boost competitiveness of RoK-made products such as auto parts, artificial leather, paper, cosmetics, motorbikes, office stationery and household utensils.

RoK Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister told Viet Nam News Agency correspondent in Seoul that Viet Nam’s WTO accession last year and the effective ASEAN-Korea FTA will help bring the economic relation between the two countries to a new height. “The RoK is ready to support Viet Nam in the process of socio-economic development,” he said.

According to Bui Quang Hao, Vietnamese Commercial Counselor in the RoK, Vietnamese goods will face severe competition with those from China and other ASEAN countries in the RoK market.

Therefore, to increase competitiveness, Viet Nam must improve the quality of export products, diversify types and designs as well as promote the trademarks, Hao said.

Viet Nam needs to early reach an agreement on botanical quarantine with the RoK so it can export its tropical fruits to this market, he added.

ASEAN is now the RoK’s fifth largest partner with a two-way trade turnover of 53.5 billion USD in 2005, accounting for 9 percent of the country’s total trade turnover.

In 2006, the RoK invested over 12.5 billion USD in the region. ASEAN countries were destinations of about 2 million tourists from the northeast Asian country.

The RoK and ASEAN countries set to reach an agreement on service and investment liberalization which is under negotiation by late this year.

Vietnam News Agency

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