South Korea to Open Free Trade Talks With Vietnam

Posted February 13th, 2012 at 3:45 am (UTC-5)
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South Korea says it is preparing to enter free trade talks with Vietnam.

In a news release Monday, South Korea's finance ministry said the talks will be aimed at strengthening ties with the fast-growing Southeast Asian market. Vietnam's economy has been growing at 5 to 8 percent a year and South Korean exports to Vietnam totaled $13.6 billion last year.

The announcement marks the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Seoul said the countries completed a joint study on the feasibility of a free trade agreement in October.

The ministry statement said South Korea expects the talks to cover products, services and investment. Seoul hopes to address intellectual property rights as well.

South Korea and Vietnam are already parties to a trade agreement between Seoul and the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations which covers merchandise.

South Korea also completed a far-reaching free trade agreement with the United States last year. Vietnam and the United States are among several countries seeking to establish a free-trade region to be known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.