Korea's Recent Export to Vietnam and Implications
5 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2016
Date Written: February 5, 2016
In 2015, while Korea’s total exports were sluggish mainly due to weak global demand, its exports to Vietnam have increased rapidly, and Vietnam emerged as Korea’s top 3rd export destination. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, Korean investors took advantage of Vietnam’s low-wage in labor-intensive industry. From the mid 2000s, they started to shift their focus from labor-intensive to capital and technology-intensive industries. This has been driven by massive investment by SEC (Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd) in mobile phone manufacturing. The strategic investment by SEC is transforming Vietnam’s industrial structure from labor-intensive to technology-intensive, and has put Vietnam on the top of the list of world’s mobile phone producing countries. With Korea-Vietnam FTA ratified in 2015, and the year 2016 will offer new opportunities to promote cooperation between Korea and Vietnam. Future bilateral economic cooperation should not simply stop at demanding higher liberalization levels, but support building a production network that promotes a ‘win-win’ cooperative relationship for mutual benefits.
Keywords: Vietnam, FDI, Export, Production network, virtuous circle
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