The Republic of Korea (RoK) expects to conclude the negotiations and sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam by the end of this year, said RoK Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-Jik.

The minister revealed the plan at a working session with a delegation of the Vietnamese Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs in Seoul on August 12.

He asked the commission’s head Vuong Dinh Hue to help push the early signing of the agreement, adding that once the FTA is inked, there will be a huge wave of investment from the RoK into Vietnam. He affirmed that Vietnam is currently the most attractive market for RoK investors.

Minister Yoon Sang-Jik suggested the two countries expand their partnership in the agro-forestry-fishery sector, especially in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, besides the current cooperation fields.

He expressed support for Hue’s proposal on establishing another industrial technology incubator in a northern province of Vietnam besides the on-going project in the Mekong Delta and promoting Korean investment in textile and dyeing in the country.

The RoK will also increase workforce training programmes for Vietnam and receive more Vietnamese skilled labourers, he added.

For his part, Hue welcomed the suggestions of the RoK official, adding that his commission will urge relevant agencies to soon conclude the FTA negotiation so that it can be signed by the year’s end.

During the visit from August 10 – 13, the Vietnamese delegation also had working sessions with other RoK senior officials such as Deputy Minister of Strategy and Finance Joo Hyung Hwan, Chairman of the Financial Services Commission Shin Je-Yoon, Governor of the Financial Supervisory Service Choi Soo-Hyun, KOICA Vice President Kim In and President of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy Lee Il Houng.

They also had meetings with executives of leading multinational groups like Samsung and Lotte.

The visit aimed to bolster the Vietnam – RoK strategic partnership, gain an insight into the RoK’s three-year plan for economic innovation, and share experience in economic reform.-VNA