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Trade Tension With China, U.S. Pushes South Korea Toward Vietnam

  • Exports to Vietnam soar as firms such as Samsung shift output
  • Vietnam set to become Korea’s second-biggest export market
Shipping containers sit stacked in this aerial photograph taken above the Busan Port Terminal (BPT) in Busan, South Korea.
Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
Updated on

Facing persistent trade tensions with China and the U.S., South Korea is deepening ties with Vietnam, which is on course to surpass the U.S. as Korean companies’ second-biggest export market.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is looking to expand trade with Southeast Asia as one way for corporate giants such as Samsung Electronics Co. to diversify production bases and export markets. Seoul sees the U.S. under President Donald Trump as an increasingly demanding and unreliable trade partner, while tensions with China over the U.S. Thaad missile-defense system have dragged on for more than a year.