SEOUL -- Viet Nam maintained its position as South Korea's third-largest trade partner in 2023. The main product category that was shipped to Viet Nam was semiconductors, followed by flat-screen displays and petroleum-based products.
South Korea forged a diplomatic relationship with the Republic of Vietnam in 1956 but it was severed in 1975 due to the fall of Saigon during the Viet Nam War (1955~1975). South Korea established diplomatic ties with the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in 1992.
Currently, major South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have manufacturing facilities in Viet Nam. Especially, about half of Samsung smartphones are produced in Viet Nam and distributed to some 130 countries, according to the tech giant in 2023.
According to data released by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), South Korea recorded $53.4 billion in exports to Viet Nam in 2023. The annual import volume stood at $27.5 billion while the trade surplus reached $27.5 billion.
Although the annual export volume decreased by 12.3 percent compared to 2022 while imports declined by 2.9 percent, Viet Nam maintained its position as the third-largest trade partner of South Korea with an annual trade volume of $79.4 billion. KITA's data showed that China was South Korea's top trade partner with an annual trade volume of $267.6 billion, followed by the United States with $186.9 billion.
The recession in the total trade volume with Viet Nam was caused by the decline in semiconductor exports, down 21.6 percent year-on-year to stand at $12.7 billion. Exports of other product categories also dropped. Exports of flat panel displays slipped 1.4 percent to stand at $12.3 billion, exports of petroleum-based products dropped 10.8 percent year-on-year and the mobile communication devices sector saw its exports drop by 8.1 percent to $2.1 billion.
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