Vietnam-Japan trade has been expanding by some 20% a year since the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA) was signed four years ago, a trade official told a trade and investment promotion forum in HCMC on Wednesday.
Ho Thi Kim Thoa, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said that bilateral trade was projected to continue growing strongly in the coming time, having almost doubled since 2009 when the partnership agreement took effect.
She was speaking at the Vietnam-Japan trade and investment promotion forum that attracted more than 200 Vietnamese and Japanese enterprises in the fields of precision mechanics, supporting industries, electronics and farm produce processing.
The partnership agreement effective on October 1, 2009 has marked a new turning point in the two countries’ economic cooperation and has strengthened bilateral trade exchanges and investment promotions, Thoa said.
Two-way trade was some US$13.8 billion in 2009, which picked up about 22% to US$16.7 billion in 2010 and 26.5% to US$21.2 billion in 2011, she said.
The year 2012 witnessed two-way trade value reaching US$24.7 billion, jumping 16.5% year-on-year.
Vietnam also has a trade surplus with Japan, shipping goods worth US$13.1 billion in 2012 while importing commodities worth US$11.6 billion from the market.
The uptrend is maintained this year, seeing two-way trade in January-August reach US$16.3 billion, with Vietnam’s exports to Japan totaling US$8.8 billion and its imports from the Asian partner staying at US$7.5 billion.
The structure of Vietnam’s goods shipments bound for Japan has also changed for the better recently. Besides traditional goods favored by Japanese consumers like furniture, handicraft items and seafood, Vietnam has started exporting other high-tech products with big volumes to Japan such as machinery, mobile phones, laptops, cameras, vehicles and steel items.
Still, Vietnamese dragon fruit, flowers, coffee, processed foodstuff and rice among other farm produce have also won the hearts of Japanese buyers in recent times.
Apart from trade, Japan has always been among the top foreign investors in Vietnam in the last five years. Japan last year became the biggest investor in Vietnam with total newly-registered and additional capital of US$5.6 billion, holding 34.2% of total foreign direct investment flown into the nation.
Investment capital by Japanese investors totaled over US$4.7 billion in the first nine months of the year, representing 31.6% of total registered FDI in the country.
Overall, Japan is the single biggest foreign investor in Vietnam, with total registered capital of more than US$33 billion to date.