The first meeting of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA) was recently held in Tokyo, bringing into affect the treaty that was signed in 2008.
Import taxes in the two countries will be now be reduced in accordance with the agreed roadmap, with Vietnam cutting 2,586 tax lines and Japan 7,220. The main Vietnamese products exported to Japan (garments and textiles, furniture, shrimps and products made from shrimps, electric cables, computers, durians and flowers, among others) will be freed of import duties over a ten-year period, affecting 94% of total Vietnamese exports to Japan and 86 % of agricultural exports.
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang stressed the importance of this accord by saying that it is a step forward in economic, trade and investment cooperation in bilateral relations. The Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Katsuya Okada confirmed “Japan’s firm policy (…) that bilateral relations should be lifted to new heights.”
The Vietnam Textile and Garment Association, a powerful industrial association, has predicted that the export turnover in this sector will increase around 18-20%, amounting around 900-1billion dollars if the export growth rate to Japan keeps rising at the same rate as in recent years.
The VJEPA negotiations began in early 2007, just after Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The treaty was officially signed in late 2008.
This accord is Japan’s 10th free-trade agreement (FTA) -it has also signed deals with Singapore, Mexico, Malaysia, Chile, Thailand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-, and Vietnam’s first bilateral FTA since its entrance to the WTO.
Bilateral trade turnover in 2010 is expected to reach 18 billion dollars.