The Republic of Korea (RoK) has underlined its status as a key trade and investment partner of Vietnam with 187 projects worth 667 million USD in the first seven months of the year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

This made it the fourth largest investor in Vietnam for the period.

As of July, there were 3,385 RoK investment projects worth 25.7 billion USD operating in the country.

The ministry said most of the major corporate groups from the RoK have established a presence in Vietnam , including Samsung, LG, Hyundai and Kumho Asiana. Some of these investors plan to expand their investments in the country.

In terms of trade relations, the RoK is Vietnam 's sixth biggest export market.

Since 2007, when the free trade agreement between the two countries took effect, Vietnam 's export turnover to the RoK has increased by more than 100 percent.

According to the Vietnam General Department of Customs, Vietnam exported more than 3 billion USD worth of goods to the RoK in the first half of this year, a year-on-year rise of over 25 percent.

Many key exports saw high growth, including crude oil with 432 million USD, up by more than 150 percent over the same period last year.

This was followed by computers, electronic products and spare parts with 149 million USD, up 128 percent year-on-year.

Next came cassava and cassava products (45 million USD, up by 67 percent), garments (545 million USD, up 42 percent).

Other products like vegetable and fruits, timber, footwear, bags and pepper have also recorded high export growth rates.

Officials and businesses hope the trade between the two countries will further develop as consumption habits in the RoK has changed, creating chances for many Vietnamese products such as coffee.

Last year, the RoK imported 3 billion USD worth of coffee from 83 nations and territories in the world.

Seafood is also another product with high export potential to the RoK.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporter and Processors said shipments of “tra” fish to the RoK has surged steadily in recent years. In the first half of this year, about 3 million USD worth of “tra” fish was exported, up 32 percent year-on-year.

Vietnam is now ranked the third biggest seafood exporter in the RoK.

To increase seafood exports to this market, domestic firms should strengthen their focus on food safety and quality, experts say.-VNA