Bright prospects for Vietnam-Japan economic cooperation

Tuesday, 2018-10-30 10:24:17
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Inside a factory of Japan's Honda in Vietnam
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NDO - Since Vietnam and Japan established diplomatic ties in 1973, the bilateral relationship has been continually strengthened and has recorded many outstanding achievements in all areas, especially the increasingly thriving economic cooperation, which is a highlight of the Vietnam-Japan extensive strategic partnership.

In recent years, the bilateral trade value has been growing steadily towards a more balanced relationship. Vietnam’s exports to Japan have seen encouraging growth. In 2017, five key Vietnamese exports to Japan, namely garments, machinery, transport vehicles, seafood and timber products, all increased compared with the previous year, with each reaching at least US$1 billion.

In the opposite direction, most of Vietnam’s imports from Japan are to be used for manufacturing activity. In 2017, three of Vietnam’s imports from Japan with respective values of at least US$1 billion were machinery, computers and electronics, and steel and iron.

Japan is a large importer of seafood, garments, footwear products and processed food, which are Vietnam’s strengths, while Japanese machines and accessories have long established their reputation in Vietnam. Japanese cuisine served in the Japanese style in Japanese restaurants in Vietnam is helping to bring the two countries culturally closer together. Japan is assisting to develop Vietnam’s supporting industries, with the Vietnam-Japan supporting industries exhibition being held regularly to promote economic and investment cooperation between the two countries and enhance the capacity of Vietnam’s supporting industries.

Cooperation between Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is active, with notable cooperation between the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency and the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) and the ASEAN Promotion Centre on Trade, Investment and Tourism.

The cooperation between the two sides has focused on fields with great potential and has brought about an early and clear effect, especially in Vietnam’s key economic zones. One of the prime examples of Vietnam-Japan cooperation is Japan’s special support programme for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) to help the four countries to bolster the export of high-quality handicrafts.

Within the framework of the above-mentioned programme, Japanese experts share their experience with Vietnam on product design and marketing, and business administration. Recently, Japan has facilitated Vietnam to export an additional number of products to the East Asian country, such as red-flesh dragon fruits, mangoes, heat-processed chicken and milk. The two sides also cooperate in catching and exporting tuna to Japan.

The Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement signed in 2008 has become a driver for trade growth between the two countries.

The two governments’ supportive stance and the two business communities’ dynamism and faithful cooperation are expected to create further opportunities for bilateral trade cooperation. However, Japan is a demanding market with strict requirements on product quality, applying not only to imports from Vietnam but to those also from other countries.

In order to take full advantage of the cooperation opportunities between the two countries, Vietnamese enterprises need to ensure that their exports meet the quality standards of Japanese importers, while at the same time transforming Japan’s cooperation and support programmes effectively in order to strengthen the Vietnamese economy.