Deal Opens Up Japan Market to Vietnamese Goods

Viet Nam and Japan have concluded talks to enter into an economic partnership, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang told a press conference on Monday. 

Collecting fruit for export in Cai Be district, Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang (Photo: Hoang Thach Van)

The Viet Nam-Japan Economic Partners Agreement (EPA) is a comprehensive treaty to facilitate exchange of goods, capital, technology, and skilled workers to help the two economies increase their competitiveness, he said.

The agreement includes pledges to free up trade, goods, services, and investment, and boost cooperation in agriculture, industry, investment, human resource development, tourism, and transportation.

Japan will help Viet Nam train nurses, establish a dialogue mechanism for enterprises in the textile and garment and construction industries, develop export substitution industries, and strengthen food hygiene and safety systems.

“Many Vietnamese agricultural and aquaculture products not imported at all or facing high tariffs in Japan will enjoy lower tariffs,” the minister said.

“Many Japanese industrial products imported into Viet Nam will face tariffs agreed between ASEAN and Japan.

“This will offer Vietnamese goods a big chance to enter the Japanese market.”

Japan will cut tariffs on Vietnamese honey products from 25 percent to 12.8 percent and eliminate tariffs on coffee, green tea, durian, and vegetable in the next ten years. Rice is not part of the agreement.

Vietnamese workers to receive higher salary in Japan 

Japanese ambassador in Viet Nam, Mitsuo Sakuba, said the agreement would create a level playing field for Vietnamese workers in Japan. In some fields, they will no longer get apprentices’ wages but those paid to Japanese.

A graduate from any Vietnamese IT school working in Japan, for instance, will be paid on a par with the locals as will a nurse with Japanese training.

Former deputy trade minister and chief of the Vietnamese negotiating delegation, Phan The Rue, said nine rounds of official talks and many more rounds of non-official talks had been held in the last 19 months.

The Japanese side was especially concerned with auto parts, steel, chemicals, and electronics. It asked Viet Nam to open its market to products not made domestically.

“Japan attaches much priority to Vietnamese agricultural and seafood produce, higher than to produce from other ASEAN member-countries,” Mr. Rue said.

The agreement is scheduled to be signed by the end of the year.

By Cam Van Kinh (Tuoi Tre Newspaper)- Translated by Viet Khoa

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