Delegates at the forum (Photo VNA)

Seoul (VNA)
– Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Vietnam Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Speaker of the Republic of Korea’s National Assembly Moon Hee-sang have pledged to facilitate trade and investment cooperation between the two countries as they attended the Vietnam-RoK trade and investment forum in Seoul.

The event on December 7 was jointly held by Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, the RoK Embassy in Vietnam, and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Speaker Moon Hee-sang highlighted the fact that Vietnam is a leading cooperation partner of the RoK in numerous fields. The bilateral relations have seen remarkable strides across all aspects, from politics, economy, and culture to development cooperation, labour, and people-to-people exchanges.

In particular, Vietnam is a top partner in the New Southern Policy of the RoK’s Government, he stressed.

The Speaker called on Vietnamese and Korean businesses to promote their partnership to contribute to the prosperity in the two countries and the Asian region as a whole.

He noted that about half of the RoK businesses investing in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are operating in Vietnam.
National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (R) and Speaker of the RoK's National Assembly Moon Hee-sang (Photo VNA)

For her part, Chairwoman Ngan said after more than 30 years of reforms, Vietnam has become an average income country in 2018 with a gross domestic product (GDP) of 240 billion USD and total trade value of 475 billion USD.

The middle class in Vietnam is expanding, which is expected to make up about 50 percent of the population by 2030. This will make Vietnam an attractive consumer market and help provide high quality labour for the economy.

The investment environment in Vietnam has been constantly improved with competitive investment costs and improved transport infrastructure, Ngan said.

She added that Vietnam is a responsible member of 10 valid free trade agreements (FTA). The National Assembly of Vietnam has ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which will come into force in early 2019. The NA will soon ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in the coming time. The FTAs will broaden Vietnam’s free trade relations and allow it to enjoy high preferential treatment from large markets of nearly 40 developed countries.

Vietnam aims to achieve an annual average economic growth of 6.5 – 7 percent through 2020, a GDP of 320 – 350 billion USD, and trade size of about 600 billion USD, striving to turn itself into an advanced industrial country, she added.

The top legislator said RoK firms are playing an important role in several key economic fields of Vietnam, such as electronics, energy, automobile, garment-textile and construction. 

Currently, the RoK is the biggest FDI partner of Vietnam, contributing significantly to the shift of economic structure, job generation, trade balance, and promotion of social welfares in Vietnam. RoK businesses are economic diplomats who contribute to developing the two nations’ cooperation in a pragmatic and effective manner, Ngan noted.

The trade scale of the two countries has also increased steadily, especially after the FTA between Vietnam and the RoK took effect. Trade growth increased by nearly 130 times to reach 64 billion USD in 2017.

On the occasion of the official visit to the RoK of the Vietnamese NA high-level delegation, the two countries on December 6 signed a memorandum of understanding on an action programme to increase two-way trade to 100 billion USD by 2020 towards balanced trade.
 
The top legislator said Vietnam is stepping up activities to encourage investment from the RoK and is willing to import commodities and spare parts that are strengths of the East Asian country.

At the same time, Vietnam hopes the RoK will continue creating more favourable conditions for Vietnam’s exports of tropical agricultural products, garment-textile, timber products, rubber, and electronics.

“We are committed to building a friendly business environment for businesses according to international standards, “ Ngan said.
The National Assembly of Vietnam will timely revise, supplement and build appropriate policies and work with the Government to create the optimal conditions for foreign investors in general and RoK businesses in particular to operate successfully in Vietnam.

“We hope the two countries’ business community will optimise their advantages and become nuclear in economic connectivity and cooperation, contributing to deepening the sound friendship between Vietnam and the RoK”, Ngan said.

At the forum, businesses from the two countries discussed cooperation opportunities in the areas of trade-services, agriculture-food processing, manufacturing industry, construction, infrastructure and finance.

On the occasion, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Speaker Moon Hee-sang witnessed the commercial launch of an air route connecting Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island and the RoK’s Seoul capital operated by the budget carrier Vietjet Air.-VNA