Vietnam is set to become a bigger export market than the United States for South Korea.
According to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) on Thursday, Korea’s exports to Vietnam amounted to $47.7 billion last year, taking up 8.3 percent of total overseas shipments, a yawning leap from the 3.9 percent share in 2014.
Vietnam is quickly closing the gap with the U.S., Korea’s second largest trade partner. Shipments to the U.S. last year were $68.6 billion, making up 12 percent of Korea’s total exports.
Korea’s export volume to Vietnam has grown to reach 69.7 percent that of the U.S.
Experts credit Vietnam’s rise to its growing prominence as a strategic outpost for some of Korea’s major manufacturing names such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.
The country’s cheap labor and state-sponsored incentives for foreign investors have raised its appeal after China as a manufacturing powerhouse.
The Korea-Vietnam free trade agreement, which went into effect in December 2015, has also helped boost bilateral trade and investment.
By Woo Je-yoon and Kim Hyo-jin
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