HA NOI — Japan would continue to help develop support industries in Viet Nam's industrial, economic and export processing zones, said Tsuno Motonori from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).
Making the comments at a meeting in Ha Noi yesterday, Motonori said the support would take the form of assistance provided to Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Japanese companies considering investment in Viet Nam.
The development of support industries was extremely important for Viet Nam to boost foreign investment at a time when the country was likely to see much stiffer competition within regional trade liberalisation frameworks, he said.
"Our goal today is trying to attract more Japanese enterprises to Viet Nam in the coming time, and we want to assist them when they invest here," he said, adding that JICA would tighten co-operation with other agencies to work out proper policies related to regulations, finance and human resources.
Motonori said the agency had consulted with the Ministry of Planning and Investment about policies and appointed experts to the ministry to help Japanese firms approach the domestic investment environment.
The agency expected to expand entrepreneur training courses at the Ha Noi-based Viet Name-Japan Human Resources Co-operation Centre (VJCC) and the agency's education programmes at universities in Ha Noi, HCM City and central Nghe An and Thanh Hoa provinces.
It also expected to provide local SMEs with more official development assistance (ODA) capital sources and technical support. Motonori said that in the coming months, Japanese experts would discuss development plans with four localities that were "key industrial development areas", including Hai Phong, Nghe An, Da Nang and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
"A six-month survey is expected to begin in April and based on that, we will give suggestions as to lure more SMEs to these areas," he said.
An important factor, he said, was that industrial zones needed to offer a more complete range of facilities and services.
"Last week when I followed a delegation to Osaka and talked to the chamber of commerce and industry there about how to attract enterprises from Osaka to Viet Nam, many suggestions related to power supplies and human resources were raised, and enterprises there said they wanted better quality industrial zones," Motonori said.
Tokyo-based National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies professor Kenichi Ohno said Viet Nam was not the only country which was trying to lure foreign investment in manufac-turing and industrial-isation.
"Japanese enterprises were also eyeing different destin-ations," he said.
He warned that Viet Nam faced significant challenges in ensuring the quality of economic growth, especially in areas such as investment efficiency, economic stability, income disparity, wages and technology.
Noting that Viet Nam's policy capability and business competitiveness were weaker than those of Thailand and Malaysia, he said, "a radical policy reform is required for internal value creation and strong competitiveness."
He also stressed the importance of securing reliable power supplies, saying, "in the long run, development of fire, hydraulic, nuclear and new-energy power generation based on a master plan supported by international co-operation is indispensable."
According to a survey of manufacturing SMEs in Osaka, which was conducted by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry in January and involved 55 firms, 75 per cent expected to choose Viet Nam as a production site, 55 per cent aimed at domestic sales, and 27.8 per cent eyed the country for input procurement. — VNS