HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam needs to solve its problems of infrastructure development, human resources and institutions and policies to strengthen its industrialisation strategy from the perspective of Japanese industrial cooperation.
Workers assemble electronic devices at Japan Mtex-Semicoductor Company Ltd in HCM City.
—VNA/VNS photo Thanh Vu
This opinion was voiced by Japanese Ambassador to Viet Nam Yasuaki Tanizaki at the international conference on Viet Nam-Japan strategic co-operation to improve Viet Nam's industrial capacity, held in Ha Noi yesterday.
At the conference, the State management agencies, scientists, Vietnamese and Japanese businesses examined the impact of Japanese investment on Viet Nam's industrial development, as well as challenges and solutions to industrial production in the country.
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said that Japan was the most important partner country for Viet Nam with regard to foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as official development assistance (ODA) in the industry-related sectors.
Meanwhile, Kenechi Ohno, from Japan's National Policy Research Institute, co-leader of the Viet Nam Development Forum (VDF) said he thought Japan also needed Viet Nam, especially if Viet Nam improved its industrial capability greatly.
Therefore, there would be good scope for promoting Japanese industrial co-operation with Viet Nam's industrial policy, provided the latter was improved significantly by adopting the selectivity and concentration principle.
Pham Hong Chuong, manager of the National Economy University's Department of Scientific Management, said Viet Nam had good conditions to meet Japanese requirements and the country was expected to become the biggest industrial production base of Japanese co-operation.
However, to grasp this "golden opportunity", the Vietnamese Government had to identify Japan as a strategic partner in industrial development, taking advantage of Japanese assistance to develop supporting industries, along with absorbing technology and improving skills, renovating the formulation of industrial policies and ensuring macro-economic stability, he said.
Besides, it was also important for Vietnamese enterprises to shorten the gap in business thinking between Vietnamese and Japanese enterprises and to take advantage of Japanese assistance to enhance management and production capacity and to apply the managerial experiences of Japanese enterprises.
The national industrialisation plan is one of the key co-operation projects between Viet Nam and Japan that has received a lot of attention from the Vietnamese Government.
Viet Nam hopes to receive Japanese consultants and experts to draw up a development plan for a number of key industries, aiming to realise its industrialisation strategy by 2020 with a vision to 2030.
Duong Dinh Giam, director of the Industrial and Strategic Study Institute under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, presented the strategy with three main points, including adjusting the growth model, developing the priority industries and adjusting industrial geographical distribution.
The strategy sets up the breakthrough solutions of developing systems of industrial service and improving the quality of the labour force. According to Ohno, Viet Nam needs to change not only its policy content but also, more fundamentally, policy making methods that produce industrial strategies and action plans.
Policy making in Viet Nam was highly scattered and without focus, with many projects and programmess being carried out separately, Ohno said. Viet Nam needed to create policy focal points instead of pursuing too many policies without linkage, he added.
Ambassador Tanizaki reaffirmed the Japanese government's commitment to maintain ODA to Viet Nam, including assistance for industrial development.
The event was organised by the National Economic University in co-ordination with Japan International Co-operation Agency, Industrial and Strategic Study Institute and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
|This is a project of Japan's FDI in the industry largest ever in the city of Hai Phong with a total investment of US$575 million in 2012...—VNS file photo
On the same day in HCM City, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper and Japan's Mainichi newspaper held a joint conference on the Vietnamese market and the investment trend of Japanese enterprises.
Japanese small- and medium-sized enterprises saw Viet Nam as one of its most attractive investment destination, business leaders have said.
Nakajima Kazuo of Brain Works Group, an investor in Viet Nam, said more than 99 per cent of Japanese enterprises were small- and medium-sized enterprises. Most big companies had invested in Viet Nam.
Japan has 1.787 million enterprises and 1.775 million of them were small and medium in size, Kazuo said.
Japan's economic crisis and the consequences of the tsunami were among the main reasons that businesses had shifted their investment flow into Viet Nam as well as Southeast Asia, Kazuo said, adding that Viet Nam's market was still young and had a great deal of potential.
"The disaster has made the Japanese think again and estimate the investment risk and to think of entering new markets in Asia," he said.
Kazuo pointed out that Japan's population was 130 million and Viet Nam's 90 million.
The population of Viet Nam is young, with nearly 60 per cent of population below 25 years old, while the population of Japan had a higher ratio of older people.
"We see big opportunities to do business in Viet Nam, which has a good market, because the business skills of local enterprises are still at a low level. The market in Japan is shrinking and the market in Viet Nam is widening," he said.
Japanese investors said Viet Nam at present was similar to their country during its development period.
Kazuo predicted that the service, retail and restaurant sectors were attractive to Japanese enterprises.
Last year, 225 Japanese enterprises invested in Viet Nam, the highest number compared with previous years.
More companies would come, including those in healthcare and agriculture, experts said. The retail market was one of the targets of Japanese enterprises.
According to Le Manh Ha, deputy chairman of the HCM City People's Committee, bilateral trade between the two countries reached US$25 billion last year.
As of 2012, Japan was the biggest investor in Viet Nam, with 1,800 projects worth $29 billion.
Japan is ranked fifth in investing in HCM City, with 555 projects worth $2.7 billion, he said.
According to the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Japanese investment in Viet Nam hit a record-high over the past two years.
Last year, Japan's investment contributed to a quarter of all new projects in the country, equivalent to around 50 per cent of its total capital invested.
JETRO said that 65.9 per cent of 4,000 surveyed businesses said they would choose Viet Nam as an investment destination during the next two years.
JETRO predicted there would be a great number of Japanese businesses investing in Viet Nam this year despite the global economic downturn — VNS