Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have officially signed a free trade agreement (FTA) after over two years of negotiations.

With 17 chapters, 208 articles, 15 appendices and one agreement specifying commitment delivery, the deal was signed by Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and RoK Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jick in Hanoi on May 5.

It covers commodity and service trade, investment, intellectual property, food hygiene and plant quarantine, rules of origin, customs facilitation, trade protection, technical barriers in trade, e-commerce, competition, economic cooperation and legal regulations.

Under the agreement, the RoK will help Vietnam improve its capacity to develop and enforce policies and competitiveness in agro-forestry-fisheries, electronic technology, petrochemical and oil refinery and support industry.

As the first agreement signed among those whose negotiations concluded last year, the Vietnam – RoK FTA is expected to have positive repercussions across all aspects in Vietnam, including generating jobs and reducing poverty.

The RoK is currently the biggest investor in Vietnam with pledges totaling 38 billion USD in more than 42,000 projects as of March 2015, according to government data.

The two countries target 70 billion USD in trade by 2020. The 2014 figure hit 30.3 billion USD.-VNA