Negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) should be accelerated to open up opportunities for businesses to enjoy the trade boom, said representatives from both sides.

Participants made the call at a seminar held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) of RoK, and the RoK Chamber of Commerce and Industry on December 12 in Hanoi.

Deputy Minister of MOFAT, Choi Kyonglim, noted the two countries set a target to raise two-way trade to 20 billion USD by 2015 and 30 billion USD in the next period. To that end, the two sides should devise concrete strategies, he said, adding that the seminar provides a venue for businesses to suggest new cooperation orientations in the coming time.

RoK ambassador to Vietnam, Ha Chan Ho, stressed that once the FTA is signed, it will pave the way for expanded trade and investment between the two countries.

As Vietnam’s second largest investor, with a total investment of 20.5 billion USD, RoK is embarking on a number of plans to further invest in the Southeast Asian country, the diplomat added.

Sharing the same view, Koh Kyung Sok, a representative from RoK’s FTA negotiation group, said that bilateral trade cooperation will expand in a wide range of fields upon the signing of the deal.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu added that the seminar presents an avenue for the two sides’ firms to obtain the most up-to-date information on the matter.

Speaking on trade potential, Tu said that two-way trade between Vietnam and Rok jumped to 18 billion USD in 2011 from 0.5 billion USD in 1992. RoK has become Vietnam’s fourth largest trade partner while Vietnam is RoK’s 8 th biggest export market.

The first round of negotiations began in September in Seoul after the two countries agreed to start FTA negotiations on August 6 th, 2012.-VNA