Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) will speed up their negotiations for the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries in 2014.

The consensus was reached by visiting Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his RoK counterpart Hyun Oh-Seok, who is also the RoK Minister of Strategy and Finance, during their talks in Seoul on January 21.

Both officials voiced their pleasure at the burgeoning and effective growth of the bilateral friendship and cooperation, particularly since the establishment of their strategic cooperative partnership in 2009.

They agreed on major directions and concrete measures to bring the partnership to a new height for the two peoples’ interests and regional peace, stability, collaboration and development.

They were unanimous in increasing high-ranking visits to enhance mutual trust and understanding, as well as strategic dialogues and result-orientated cooperation in diplomacy, defence and security.

Both sides agreed to intensify their economic and trade relations, working to push two-way trade turnover to 70 billion USD by 2020, and devising practical measures to reach a trade balance.

The host said the RoK will consider optimal conditions for Vietnamese imports into the country and reinforce affiliation in high technology and the support industry.

Deputy PM Phuc affirmed that the Vietnamese Government will spend the RoK’s 100 million USD low-interest loan on expanding its e-governance.

He also asked the RoK Government to continue its support to key cooperation projects between the two countries, including the Vietnam-Korea Institute of Science and Technology, the Vietnam Happiness Programme, and a national training centre for counter terrorism.

Hyun Oh-Seok said the RoK deems Vietnam as an important partner in the region and in its official development assistance (ODA) provision policy. He pledged it will further ODA supply to the Southeast Asian country, especially in green growth, infrastructure building and human resource training.

At the talks, the two sides agreed to exert their efforts to boost people-to-people exchanges, and protect the legitimate rights of their citizens residing in the other country.

The guest spoke highly of the signing of a memorandum of understanding on labour cooperation between the RoK Ministry of Employment and Labour and the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

He also asked the host side to soon give quotas for Vietnamese workers to facilitate their employment in the RoK.-VNA