DA NANG (VNS)— Japanese businesses in Da Nang have urged the central city to dismantle barriers and make the investment environment at the Industrial Parks (IP) and Industrial Zones (IZs) even more conducive to attract Japanese investors and send signals about its continued commitment to enhanced business links.
The Japanese Business Association in Da Nang (JBAD), which focused on the quality of infrastructure at the IPs and IZs, bus routes, administrative reform, supportive industries, environment and logistics, explained its concerns clearly during a dialogue between this central city's leadership and the JBAD.
"The city has made many efforts to smooth the way for Japanese businesses in the past. However, there are still certain barriers in investment policy and administrative procedures that require reforms," the chairman of the city's people's committee, Huynh Duc Tho, said at the dialogue on September 9.
"It's an open and informal dialogue held in order to come up with quick solutions to any difficulties and barriers that the Japanese business community faces," Tho said.
He said direct discussions were aimed at building Da Nang as an attractive and safe destination for investors, especially Japanese businesses.
The chairman added that in the future, similar dialogues will be organised frequently to deal with any obstructions faced by the investors.
At the dialogue, the city's investment promotion centre also debuted its Japanese Desk Da Nang team, which will be available every Wednesday to support Japanese investors by explaining administrative procedure, investment licensces and priority policies or any other adjustments. Shinichi Iwama, vice chairman of the Japanese Business Association in Da Nang (JBAD), said the newly introduced direct flight between Narita and Da Nang had formed a bridge between Japan's cities and the central region.
"Many Japanese tourists already know Da Nang as the direct route has been operating since earlier this year. They (Japanese) are also impressed with Da Nang, thanks to a daily television show in Japan," he said.
Iwama, who is also the chairman of Daiwa Viet Nam, was still worried about the operation of shuttle bus routes connecting the city's centre and IPs and IZs.
"We need a clear and detailed programme of bus routes as our workers should find it easy to commute between their living quarters and working place."
Shibasaki Toru, president of Mabuchi Motor Da Nang, said environment and safe traffic continued to remain a concern at the IPs and IZs.
"Local people still graze cows on the land around these IPs and leave behind waste, while traffic conditions remain unsafe. Many vendors continue to stay put along the roadside pathway in the industrial zones," Shibasaki said.
"The unclean conditions at the IPs and IZs would cast a bad impression on our new investors and partners whenever they come to visit our factory," he added.
Koichi Akiyama, the chairman of the JBAD and general director of Japan's Kane-M Da Nang company, said the city should rearrange land needed for Japanese small and medium-size enterprises.
Many vacant lots
"I have seen many land lots left in the underdeveloped Hoa Khanh Industrial Zone (IZ). Our partners need land area ranging from 500sq.m to 1,000sq.m to set up their factories," Akiyama said.
The city's chairman said the city has allocated a 10ha piece of land in the Hoa Khanh Industrial Zone as demanded by the Japanese enterprises currently here and new investors from that country.
The city has developed an Information Park on 344ha of land in Hoa Vang district and an IT park on 55.6ha nearby, besides 10ha in Da Phuoc Urban Zone near the city's centre, where space has been reserved for IT investors from Japan.
The deputy director of the city's Investment Promotion Centre, Huynh Thi Lien Phuong, said the city has called for developing worker apartments at the IPs and IZs. She conceded that infrastructure at certain IPs and IZs was yet to lure Japanese investors.
Kana Miyazaki, deputy chief representative of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) in Ha Noi, said a recent survey of JETRO pointed out that 66 per cent of the 458 Japanese firms based in Viet Nam planned to expand their business during the next one or two years.
A recent survey of Shoko Chukin Bank from Japan showed that 40.7 per cent of 3,750 respondents from various Japanese businesses in Japan said they would invest in Viet Nam.
Kana made a strong commitment that JETRO would co-operate with Da Nang in boosting investment from Japan to the city.
According to the latest report, Da Nang has attracted 305 foreign investment projects worth $3.37 billion.
Japan ranked fourth among top investors in Da Nang with 89 projects worth $378 million, of which 55 projects involve manufacturing, creating 30,000 jobs for the local people.
The city planned to build an industrial park spread over 134ha for medium and small-size businesses from Japan. — VNS