South Korean investments in Vietnam had surpassed $50 billion by the end of 2016, making it the largest foreign investor in the country, according to the Korean Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

The $50.5 billion invested by South Korean enterprises accounted for 30.8 per cent of all foreign direct investment in Vietnam, with 5,773 projects.

Seventy-one per cent of capital went to manufacturing and processing, following by real estate with 14.8 per cent and construction with 5.4 per cent.

Japan ranked second, with $42.4 billion in investment, then Singapore with $38.2 billion, Taiwan (China) with $31.8 billion, and the British Virgin Islands with $20.4 billion.

Many South Korean companies have arrived in Vietnam in recent times with the aim of taking advantage of its developing economy. A representative from KOTRA said that Vietnam’s economy is stable thanks to foreign investors pushing investments.

Bilateral trade between Vietnam and South Korea is expected to reach $70 billion by 2020 due to the Vietnam-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA), which came into effect one year ago.  

From 2017, 18 items will be subject to tariff reductions under the VKFTA, with trade value between the two countries expected to increase and become more balanced as a result.

According to Mr. Le An Hai, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Asian Market Department, based upon the commitments made in the VKFTA, in the years to come the two countries will improve both their economic and political relationship.

Vietnam is to focus on introducing preferential mechanisms for South Korea while South Korea will continue to open up its market to Vietnamese goods, according to Mr. Hai.