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Mar 07, 2023 / 18:30

Japan remains Vietnam’s top economic partner: PM

Vietnam and Japan enjoy strong and comprehensive relations in all fields, with high political trust.

Japan remains Vietnam's top economic partner, as the two countries continue to strengthen their ties in various fields 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations (September 21, 1973 – September 21, 2023).

 Overview of the meeting. Source: VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh made the remarks at a meeting with major Japanese economic organizations today [March 7].

The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for the practical and effective contributions of JICA, JBIC, KEIDANREN, and the Vietnam-Japan Economic Committee to the country's economic development.

He noted that these organizations have played an important role in improving Vietnam's investment environment and economic competitiveness through major infrastructure projects, training, and capacity-building programs.

Chinh stressed that since the establishment of diplomatic relations 50 years ago, Vietnam and Japan had enjoyed a robust and comprehensive relationship in all fields with a high level of trust.

In economic development, the country is actively seeking resources to support its development process, Chinh said, urging JICA and JBIC to continue their close discussions and coordination with Vietnamese agencies to explore more effective ways of cooperation in the future.

Chinh also encouraged Japanese businesses to expand their investment cooperation in priority areas such as infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, high-quality agriculture, information technology, smart cities, financial services, banking, innovation, and the privatization of state-owned enterprises in Vietnam.

"The Government of Vietnam is committed to supporting and creating favorable conditions for business investment activities to benefit all parties involved and contribute to the further development of Vietnam-Japan relations," Chinh said.

In addition, the Prime Minister urged Japan to engage in policy dialogue activities and provide information and experience to the Vietnamese authorities to help improve the investment environment in Vietnam.

He asked these organizations to conduct activities to promote Vietnam's image, investment environment, potential, and investment cooperation opportunities to large Japanese corporations and enterprises. In addition, the Prime Minister expected Japanese enterprises to increase investment in Vietnam to diversify supply chains and support the development of supporting industries and innovation related to technology transfer, especially high, green, and clean technologies.

The representatives of Japanese business organizations thanked the Government of Vietnam and the Prime Minister personally for their support of Japanese business activities in Vietnam and for the success of the Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative.

The delegation expressed their pleasure to visit Vietnam and witness its remarkable development, including many works and projects financed by the Japanese side.

They reaffirmed Japan's commitment to providing more ODA to support Vietnam's development, especially in infrastructure, environment, and energy.

At the same time, Japanese organizations also welcomed Vietnam's commitment to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050 and proposed Vietnam participate in mechanisms under G7 and G20 cooperation.

Special Vietnam-Japan relations

On March 6, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met with Japanese National Security Advisor Akiba Takeo, who is visiting Vietnam.

 Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Japan's National Security Advisor Akiba Takeo. Photo: Nhat Bac

The Prime Minister hailed the visit as a significant event, especially as Vietnam and Japan are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

He stressed that Japan has always been a top priority in Vietnam's foreign policy and that Vietnam considers Japan a trustworthy, important, and long-term strategic partner.

Chinh said the two countries share many common interests and strategic goals and expressed hope that Japan will play an active role in the region and the world, including as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in the 2023-2024 term and as president of the G7 in 2023, contributing to peace, stability, cooperation, and development.

The Prime Minister also reaffirmed Vietnam's foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification, and multilateralization of foreign relations.

"Vietnam is a good friend, a reliable partner, and an active and responsible member of the international community," Chinh said.

He stressed that Vietnam values peace and understands the importance of international law and the United Nations Charter, including the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, the non-use or threat of the use of force in international relations, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

According to Chinh, Vietnam upholds the principles of justice and fairness and prioritizes peace, stability, cooperation, and development, while supporting global efforts to achieve these goals. He stressed that Vietnam will continue to support international solidarity and multilateralism for the betterment of people's lives and the world.

At the meeting, both sides expressed delight at the strong development and high political confidence in the Vietnam-Japan relations, which have been cultivated over the past 50 years since their establishment. High-level delegation exchanges occur regularly, including an online phone conversation between General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio in early February 2023, and four meetings between Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio over the past year.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, Chinh suggested that the two sides should work closely to organize important events that will deepen the Vietnam-Japan comprehensive strategic partnership.

He also expressed Vietnam's expectation to welcome the Emperor and senior leaders of Japan to visit the country in 2023. 

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh called on both countries to work to implement their common understanding and strengthen cooperation in various fields. They should focus on strengthening their economic, trade, and investment relations, especially in developing strategic infrastructure and providing new generation ODA, while promoting innovation, digital transformation, green and circular economy, and knowledge economy to address climate change.

"These efforts would support Vietnam in building an independent and self-reliant economy that is actively integrated internationally," he said.

Additionally, the Prime Minister urged both sides to strengthen their exchanges and share their strategic visions on international and regional situations, support each other at forums and multilateral mechanisms, and respond effectively to rapid and complex changes. He also emphasized the need to promote economic linkages and free trade in the region.

At the meeting, Japan's National Security Advisor Akiba Takeo conveyed Japan's desire to strengthen relations with Vietnam and said that Prime Minister Kishida Fumio would like to meet Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh again soon.

He expressed full support for the Prime Minister's proposals and directions and promised to report to Japanese leaders and coordinate with relevant agencies of both countries to implement them and take their comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights.

He also recognized Vietnam's foreign policy and integration, acknowledging the country's growing reputation and position in the global supply chain.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed regional and international issues of mutual concern, stressing the importance of international law, solidarity, and multilateralism in promoting peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world. They also stressed the importance of settling disputes through peaceful means based on international law and ensuring security and freedom of navigation.

Trade cooperation

Japan has over 5,000 valid projects in Vietnam with a total investment capital of almost US$70 billion, placing them in the third position out of 141 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

Vietnam, on the other hand, has 104 investment projects in Japan with a registered investment capital of $19.2 million, ranking the latter 36th among the 79 countries and territories where Vietnam invests overseas.

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the two countries have managed to reach a total import-export turnover of almost $50 billion in 2022, with Japan being Vietnam's fourth-largest trading partner. Vietnam's exports to Japan reached $25 billion, while imports from Japan were around $24 billion.

According to a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Hanoi between August 22 and September 21, 2022, 60% of Japanese companies intend to expand their business in Vietnam over the next two years. This is an increase of 4.7 percentage points compared to the previous year and the highest rate in the ASEAN region.

Takeo Nakajima, Chief Representative of JETRO in Hanoi, expressed his belief that Vietnam will remain an attractive market for Japanese firms in the foreseeable future, due to its positive growth prospects and large population of 100 million.