Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), a state-funded trade and investment promotion organization, has relocated its Southeast Asia-Oceania headquarters to Hanoi, indicating stronger interest of South Korean businesses in Vietnam, Maeil Business News Korea reported.
A KOTRA Southeast Asia official speaks at a M&A forum in Hanoi in November 2017. Photo: Anh Minh
In an organizational reshuffle in May, KOTRA appointed Kim Ki-joon, who is president of its Singapore office and doubles as the chief of the Southeast Asia-Oceania headquarters, as the president of its Hanoi office. Kim will officially assume the new position on Aug. 1.
KOTRA’s Southeast Asia-Oceania oversees 14 regional offices supporting Korean businesses in exploring opportunities in the region.
Vietnam has become increasingly important to South Korean exporters and investors as relations between the two countries are thriving in all aspects.
Trade between Vietnam and South Korea has been on the rise since a bilateral free trade agreement took effect in December 2015, reaching US$63.9 billion in 2017. The figure was $25.92 billion in the first five months this year, of which Vietnam’s exports to South Korea rose 31% year-on-year to $7.18 billion while its imports from the market increased 1.1% to $18.74 billion, according to data of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The two countries are working to raise two-way trade to US$100 billion by 2020.
South Korean investors committed to directly invest an additional $5.06 billion in Vietnam in the first half of this year, lagging behind only Japanese peers. But Korean companies have made the largest accumulated overseas investment of US$61.67 billion in the Southeast Asian country so far.