Seoul, South Korea's exports to Vietnam and New Zealand continued to expand this year, apparently helped by bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) amid a downturn in global trade, a report suggested Monday.

In the first 10 months of the year, South Korea's exports to Vietnam surged 11.8 % from the same period last year, according to the report from the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

"It is such an inspiring result considering that Vietnam's overall imports gained only 2.2 % on-year over the cited period," it said.

The report also noted a sharp rise in shipments of consumer goods following the implementation of the Korea-Vietnam FTA a year ago.

In the January-October period, shipments of consumer goods to Vietnam spiked 14.2%, with shipments of washing machines soaring 102.1% on-year, apparently helped by the removal of Vietnam's 5% import tariff under the bilateral free trade deal, it said.

An earlier report from the trade ministry said the country's exports to Vietnam came to US$26.4% in the first 10 months of the year, making Vietnam the world's third-largest importer of South Korean products after China and the United States.

The positive effect of an FTA on the country's exports could also be seen in the Korea-New Zealand FTA, which also went into effect a year earlier on Dec. 20, 2015.

South Korean shipments to New Zealand have jumped 17.6% on-year as of end-October, while New Zealand's overall imports have shrunk 3%, according to the report.

Source: Qatar News Agency