VNS - Viet Nam and South Korea signed a free trade agree-ment (FTA) in May and it will take effect next year. Trade between the two countries, including in food products, is expected to soar.
Viet Nam News reporter Yen Vy spoke with Yoo Chung-sik, an executive at the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, about this at the 2015 K-Food Fair held recently in Ha Noi.
South Korea has set up supermarket chains in Viet Nam like Lotte Mart. Emart, a leading South Korean retailer, has also unveiled plans to open a hypermarket in HCM City. Could you tell us about South Korean food exports to Viet Nam? How else, besides supermarkets, is South Korean foodstuff sold in Viet Nam?
In the three years since the first K-Food Fair event in 2013, South Korean food exports to Viet Nam have seen growth of 6-12 per cent, depending on the product.
Awareness of South Korean foods among Vietnamese customers has increased since the event was first held.
The value of South Korean agricultural exports to Viet Nam last year was US$430 million.
Viet Nam became the fourth largest overseas market for South Korean exports in the first seven months of this year behind mainland China, the US and Hong Kong.
South Korean food products are now not only sold in big supermarkets but also in mini supermarkets and convenience stores, especially in HCM City.
How do you evaluate the potential of the Vietnamese market and the competitiveness of South Korean foods in the market?
In the Vietnamese market, South Korean food products are confident about two advantages: quality, and food safety and hygiene.
South Korean agricultural products can meet the standards of Vietnamese supermarkets as it ensures food safety and hygiene.
In addition, there are similarities in culture between Viet Nam and Korea, including eating habits, and, therefore, I think Vietnamese customers easily accept South Korean food products.
I believe that export of South Korean foods to Viet Nam will continue to increase in the coming time.
What are the advantages for South Korean food exports to Viet Nam and Vietnamese food exports to South Korea from the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which takes effect next year? How will it benefit Vietnamese customers?
The agreement signed in May marks significant progress between the two countries.
Through the FTA, trade between the two countries is expected to soar in the coming time.
Many custom procedures will be simplified and taxes will also be reduced.
Thus, Vietnamese customers will be able to access more South Korean agricultural produce like strawberry and orange. South Koreans will also be able to access more Vietnamese agricultural produce such as mango and rice.
We hope we can further promote the image of South Korean foods among enterprises and customers in Viet Nam through the K-Food Fair and similar events.
How does South Korea plan to boost food exports to Viet Nam?
People from the ages of 14 to 30 account for 50 per cent of Viet Nam's population.
People of that age show a lot of interest in South Korean drama and music, which will be a bridge to bring South Korean foods to Vietnamese customers.
We will utilise this opportunity to promote South Korean foods, and we will also organise events similar to K-Food Fair to further promote [them].
Food trade between Viet Nam and South Korea has expanded in recent years.
To increase Vietnamese customers' interest in South Korean foods and farm produce, experts from the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation will introduce foods from both Viet Nam and South Korea to customers who are looking for safe and healthy food products.