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Vietnam ratifies FTA with Japan
21
Apr '09
The Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ratified a comprehensive free-trade agreement with Japan. This agreement will take effect in the month of July this year. Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA) is a comprehensive bilateral trade agreement, which was initiated in October 2006 during Prime Ministers visit to Japan and was signed in Tokyo last December.

The agreement covers several important areas such as goods and services, business environment improvement, investment, labor movement and technical standard co-operation. It is expected that, 92 percent of goods that have been traded between Vietnam and Japan would be free from the tariff charges within next ten years, under this agreement.

With this agreement, there will be tax reduction or exemption for few commodities such as Vietnam's agricultural products, garments and marine products as well as for Japan's industrial supplies, including electronics and car equipment.

In the initial stages, Japan will help Vietnam with regards to certain things such as training Vietnamese nurses in Japan, developing support industries, establishing a bilateral dialogue mechanism for the garment and textile sector, improving food hygiene and safety inspection capacity and perfect quality standard system.

VJEPA will act as a tool to encourage the economic co-operation, trade and investment exchanges between Vietnam and Japan. Along with this, many opportunities are coming on the doorstep of agricultural, forestry and aqua-cultural companies, through this agreement, to access Japanese market.

Under this agreement, out of 30 types of Vietnamese agri-aqua-forestry commodities with largest export values, 23 commodities will be exempted from all taxes. Each year, a quota of 100 tons of honey will be offered by Japan to Vietnam, which will gradually increase to 150 tons. This honey will attract a tariff of 12.8 percent imposed on export volumes within the quota.

Durian will enjoy zero tax and a gradual elimination of taxes within coming five or seven year will be applicable for pepper and sweet corn. Coffee and tea will become tax-free in 15 years; whereas cuttlefish and octopus will get tax-free status after five years and shrimp exports will enjoying this benefit in coming days.

According to the experts, Japan would have large demand for food processed from pork, fresh vegetable, flowers, mechanical appliances and plastic items in near future. However, the experts say that there are some difficulties towards which a keen attention should be paid by the Vietnamese enterprises wishing to access Japanese market.

The first difficulty is lack of information about Japanese market among small and medium-sized Vietnamese enterprises and lack of experience in trading with Japanese companies. Second is Vietnamese need to pay attention to the purchasing habits of Japanese, as Japan has been tightening regulations for food hygiene & safety for agricultural exports to the country and the Japanese customers have strict requirements for quality product.

For finding Japanese partners and accessing their market, the Asia-Pacific Department, Viet Nam's Commercial Affairs office in Tokyo and the Commercial Affairs branch in Osaka, currently are acting as an intermediary for enterprises.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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