|he Japanese-invested Toyota factory in Phuc Yen city, Vinh Phuc province
Vietnam’s exports to Japan have seen encouraging growth. Last year, five Vietnamese export staples – namely garments, machinery, transport vehicles, seafood, and timber products – posted positive increases in revenues, with each bringing home at least US$1 billion.
Meanwhile, most of Vietnam’s imports from Japan are used for production activities. Three imports from Japan with turnover surpassing US$1 billion in 2017 were machinery and spare parts, computers and electronics, and steel and iron.
Japan is currently a big importer of seafood, garments, footwear products, and processed food, which are sectors that Vietnam holds strengths in. Additionally, Japanese machines and accessories have long established their reputation in Vietnam.
The country has helped Vietnam develop its supporting industry, with the Vietnam-Japan supporting industry exhibition being held regularly to promote economic and investment cooperation between the two countries and enhance the capacity of Vietnam’s supporting industry.
Cooperation between Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry is also very active, with especially fruitful partnership between the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency and the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) as well as the ASEAN Promotion Centre on Trade, Investment, and Tourism.
The cooperation between the two sides has focused on fields with great potential and brought about speedy and effective results, 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 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 the import of more Vietnamese products, 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 driving force for trade growth between the two countries.
The two governments’ supportive stance and the two business communities’ dynamism and effective cooperation are expected to create further opportunities for bilateral trade cooperation. However, Japan is a demanding market with strict requirements on product quality, applicable not only to imports from Vietnam but also to those from other countries.
In order to take full advantage of the cooperation opportunities between the two countries, Vietnamese enterprises are advised to ensure that their exports meet the quality standards of Japanese importers, while at the same time optimizing Japan’s cooperation and support programmes for the country’s economic and trade development.