The 15th meeting of the Vietnam-RoK Inter-governmental Committee takes place in Hanoi on September 22 (Photo: baodautu.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) discussed measures to foster cooperation in various spheres, including trade, investment and labour, at the 15th meeting of their Inter-governmental Committee in Hanoi on September 22.

Nguyen The Phuong, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said the meeting with the RoK’s Foreign Ministry reviewed bilateral cooperation since the 14th event held in July 2015 while defining cooperation directions for the time ahead.

The RoK’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Lee Tae-ho said Vietnam is a leading recipient of his country’s ODA. The RoK has also been among top partners of the Southeast Asian nation in economics, culture and politics since 2014.

It has provided over 200 million USD in non-refundable aid for Vietnam through projects on administrative reforms, human resources development, climate change, poverty reduction, information technology, science-technology, and urban development.

The country has pledged to provide Vietnam with nearly 3 billion USD in concessional loans, mostly for transport, healthcare and water-related projects. The two sides are negotiating a framework credit agreement worth some 1.5 billion USD for the 2016-2020 period.

The RoK is currently among Vietnam’s biggest foreign investors with about 5,500 valid projects worth 50 billion USD. Up to 84 percent of its FDI is poured into processing and manufacturing industries.

Its FDI companies employ 700,000 workers and contribute some 30 percent to Vietnam’s total export turnover, officials said at the meeting.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has invested in 19 projects with a total capital of 14.4 million USD in the RoK. Most of them have small scale and operate in services and trade.

Regarding trade relations, the two countries signed a free trade agreement in 2015 and target trade turnover at 70 billion USD by 2020.

The RoK was the third largest trade partner, following China and the US, of Vietnam in 2015 as bilateral trade hit 36.6 billion USD, 8.9 billion USD of which was Vietnam’s exports.

While the ASEAN member nation mainly imports electronic products, phones, fabric, steel and machinery from the RoK, it exports apparel, fibres, aquatic products, crude oil, vehicles and wood products.

The RoK is also a key market for Vietnam’s guest workers at present. About 54,000 Vietnamese people have been sent to the Northeast Asian country to work so far.

At the meetings, officials also discussed collaboration in many other fields such as energy, construction, infrastructure development, finance-banking, agriculture, natural resources, and science-technology.-VNA