Vietnam remains Korea’s third largest trading partner despite a decrease in imports and exports

For the second consecutive year, Vietnam has surpassed Japan to become South Korea's third largest trading partner, despite a decline in both exports and imports from Vietnam.


Imported goods through Nam Dinh Vu Port, Hai Phong. (Photo: Tran Viet/TTXVN)

Data released by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) on February 5 shows that in 2023, Vietnam continued to be the third largest trading partner of South Korea for the second consecutive year, despite a decrease in exports and imports from Vietnam.

A Seoul-based correspondent quoted KITA data stating that the trade volume between South Korea and Vietnam in 2023 reached USD 79.43 billion, with exports to Vietnam decreasing by 12.3% compared to 2022 to USD 53.49 billion; imports from Vietnam also decreased by 2.9% to USD 25.94 billion. As a result, South Korea’s trade surplus decreased by 19.5% to USD 27.55 billion.

KITA stated that Vietnam surpassed Japan for the second consecutive year to maintain its position as South Korea’s third largest trading partner.

Bilateral trade between South Korea and Japan reached USD 76.68 billion in 2023. China, with a bilateral trade volume of USD 267.66 billion, remained South Korea’s largest trading partner in 2023. The United States ranked second with USD 186.96 billion.

KITA attributed the decline in trade and exports to Vietnam in 2023 to a decrease in chip exports. South Korea’s semiconductor exports to Vietnam decreased by 21.6% compared to the same period, reaching USD 12.73 billion.

Meanwhile, exports of four other items, including sensor panels, petroleum products, wireless communication devices, and synthetic resins, also decreased.

Bilateral trade between South Korea and Vietnam has grown exponentially since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, when bilateral trade only amounted to USD 500 million.

The volume of bilateral trade continued to grow after South Korea and Vietnam signed a free trade agreement in 2014.

In 2014, Vietnam became South Korea’s 8th largest trading partner and rose to 4th place the following year. In 2022, Vietnam surpassed Japan to become South Korea’s third largest trading partner./.

Khanh Van

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