Textile and garments already lead exports from Vietnam to South Korea in 2013 - as it emerged this week that the two countries are working to finalise a free trade agreement later this year.

In 2013, Vietnam earned $6.6bn from exports to South Korea, a rise of 18.9% over the previous year. Within this, textile and garment shipments surged 53.5% year-on-year to $1.64 bn in 2013, with South Korea the fourth largest market for Vietnam-made products.

During the year, the country spent $2.63bn on importing materials for textile, garment and footwear production from South Korea, a rise of 19% on the year before.

A formal free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries is currently being negotiated, with the aim that it is signed this year.

The FTA is expected to improve the flow of capital, labour and goods and should build on existing regional agreements. Vietnam is currently a member of the ASEAN bloc, which itself has a free trade pact with South Korea.