Emerging potential: Korea aims to boost K-beauty export to Vietnam by streamlining regulations

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Korea says it will work with local regulators to support and expand cosmetic exports to the Vietnamese market. [Getty Images]
Korea says it will work with local regulators to support and expand cosmetic exports to the Vietnamese market. [Getty Images]

Related tags Vietnam Korea K-Beauty

The South Korean government says it will work with local regulators to support and expand cosmetic exports to the Vietnamese market.

In a statement published on September 13, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) said that it was working with the Drug Administration of Vietnam (DAV), a regulatory authority under the Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MOH), to boost cosmetic exports to Vietnam.

Both regulatory agencies aim to do so by easing export procedures, such as dossier requirements for K-beauty companies exporting to Vietnam. The MFDS highlighted high requests for “streamlined documentation”.

Furthermore, MFDS said that it has proactively gathered feedback and challenges faced by companies through ministerial visits and participation in industry meetings to facilitate the export of Korean cosmetic products to Vietnam.

This collaboration follows the Action Plan to Implement Comprehensive Strategic Partnership ​made during South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol visit to Vietnam last June.

This partnership aims to work with MOH to expand its collaboration in the cosmetics sector.

Previously in 2015, MFDS and MOH signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for safety information sharing and regulatory cooperation on cosmetics, medical products, and food products.

“MFDS anticipates that this bilateral meeting can enhance market access to Vietnam by introducing Korea's advanced system and bolster the reliability of Korean cosmetic products to facilitate exports to the Vietnamese market.”

K-beauty export trends

According to MFDS, Korea exports the largest quantity of cosmetic products to Vietnam among the Southeast Asian countries, where the Hallyu, or Korean wave, remains strong.

South Korean cosmetic companies are not the only ones setting their sights on Vietnam. Luxury hair care brand Aveda​ and Taipei-based CHLITINA are just some beauty brands that have expressed excitement over expanding in Vietnam.

In terms of Korean cosmetics export volume, Vietnam ranks as the fifth largest export market and is continuing to grow. From 2021 to 2022, exports of Korean cosmetics to Vietnam increased by 23.4%.

“Recently, the export volume to the Vietnamese market has seen rapid growth, making it increasingly important as a bridgehead for diverse exports,”​ said the regulator.

Meanwhile, exports to China, Hong Kong, and Japan all decreased by 26%, 31.8%, and 4.9% respectively. Exports to the US dipped slightly by 0.2%.

MDFS has announced plans to intensify its market diversification strategies and reduce its reliance on China exports, which have weakened due to several factors such as geopolitical tensions and COVID-19.

Instead, the Korean regulator has highlighted promising growth in SEA, Europe, and Latin America.

“MFDS is also committed to expanding its collaboration with regulatory authorities in other countries, including those in Asia and Latin America, and making continuous efforts to assist the cosmetics industry in accessing global markets.”

The MFDS announced on July 6 that the country’s cosmetics exports surpassed KRW10tn (USD8bn) for the second consecutive year in 2022.

Despite a 2.2% decline from the previous year, South Korea remains the fourth largest cosmetics exporter in the world after France, the US, and Germany.

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