S. Korea, Vietnam eye closer economic ties despite pandemic13/04/2020 50
South Korea and Vietnam held a videoconference on Monday to share ideas on ways to expand their economic ties despite the strain caused by the pandemic on global business activities.
Trade Minister Sung Yun-mo held the online meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Tuan Anh to discuss ways to expand bilateral ties in the face of the growing economic fallout from the new coronavirus spread, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Vietnam is the third-largest export destination for South Korea, with its outbound shipments to the Southeast Asian country reaching US$48.1 billion in 2019, down 0.9 percent from a year earlier. In 2019, South Korea's overall exports sank more than 10 percent.
"As the COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to be solved in a short period, we need to make efforts to minimize the economic fallout from the virus spread along with thorough disinfection measures," Sung said during the videoconference.
Sung's remark came amid rising concerns that global trade will be bogged down in the face of the pandemic down the road.
South Korea's outbound shipments came to $12.2 billion in the April 1-10 period, down 18.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Last month, exports edged down 0.2 percent on-year, with experts expressing concerns that the country's outbound shipments may lose ground at a sharper rate down the road, as major economies other than China are also being tanked by the pandemic.
During the meeting, Seoul expressed gratitude to Hanoi for enabling South Koreans to enter the country for major business activities and emphasized that travel by business officials is crucial to maintain the global supply chain.
The two countries also agreed to push for the so-called Electronic Origin Data Exchange System (EODES), which allows the two countries to process certificates of origin through electronic platforms.
The measure is expected to speed up customs procedures for exporters and prevent forgery of documents, according to the ministry.
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