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No industry has developed into the key industry of the nation which can enjoy the preferences from the State. It is because the argument among the relevant ministries and branches on the issue still continues.

Which industries are the key ones?

Vietnam has decided that it needs to become an industrial country by 2020. And in order to become an industrial country, it needs to develop some priority industries which would serve as the driving force to help encourage the development of other industries.

The deadline of 2020 would come in seven years. But Vietnam still keeps arguing about what should be the key priority industries.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is drafting a national program on industry development by 2020 with the vision until 2030, suggesting a list of six priority industries.

These include electronics production (electronic accessories, telecom), mechanical engineering (shipbuilding, agriculture machines, automobile industry and steel), textile and garment, energy (offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation, coal exploitation on the Red River basin, energy saving equipment), chemicals (petrochemistry, plastics), farm produce and food processing.

Duong Dinh Giam, Head of the Institute for Industrial Policies, an arm of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said all the industries think they are the most important to ask for preferences. Therefore, violent arguments have been made during the plan compilation.

The taskforce on the strategic initiative on industrialization and bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and Japan has recently also recommended a list of five priority industries, including electronics, food processing, agriculture machinery, shipbuilding, energy saving and environment protection.

As such, at least two independent agencies have been compiling the national program on the investment on priority industries. However, no one can say for sure when the names of the industries are defined and when the industries would begin their new development periods.

Vietnam spends more money on arguments than on implementation

Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam–Yasuaki Tanizaki, also said that Vietnam needs to choose some industries to prioritize to develop. However, to date, it still has not made any clear decisions. Japan once urged Vietnam to do this two years ago, but it has been very difficult to make decisions.

Meanwhile, the ambassador has reminded that AFTA would take effects by 2015, and that by 2018, the member countries would have to remove the tariff barrier to pave the way for the trade liberalization. Investors may set up their factories in the places where they can see favorable conditions and make products for export to Vietnam. They may not choose Vietnam as the place for setting up their production bases. And if so, Vietnam is facing big challenges.

Professor Kennichi Ohno, who is considered a Japanese expert about Vietnam, said the arguments about the issue began in 1995 already, and the argument has been lasting over the last 20 years.

In fact, in 2007, the Prime Minister released the Decision No. 55, approving the list of 7 priority industries in 2007-2010 with the vision until 2020, and some policies to develop the industries.

However, only the textile and garment industry has made some progress in its development so far. Meanwhile, the failures came to the others.

It seems that the failures have made government agencies become more cautious when talking about the issue which is considered “very sensitive,” though they know that they need to make decisions soon.

(Vietnam Net)

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