RoK Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jick (Photo: Reuters)

The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jick called for the early approval of free trade agreements (FTA) with Vietnam and China in a bid to reverse export downturns on September 3, according to Yonhap, the RoK’s news agency.

The nation formally signed the FTA with Vietnam in May 2015 and with China a month later.

The two pacts can serve as a stimulus to the domestic market, given the world’s fourth biggest economy recorded 39.3 billion USD in August export revenue, a 14.7 percent annual drop and the highest reduction in the past six years.

In a meeting with reporters, Minister Yoon highlighted Vietnam and China as top consumers of local products.

With China facing difficulties, as the RoK’s largest trading partner and the world's No. 2 economy, the importance of Southeast Asian countries are on the rise, he said noting that the expansion of Korean businesses in places like Vietnam has helped mitigate negative impacts from Chinese currency fluctuations.-VNA