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Viet Nam, Japan prepare for negotiations on bilateral FTA

Vietnam News Agency

Viet Nam, Japan prepare for negotiations on bilateral FTA

10 February 2006

Ha Noi, Feb. 10 (VNA) - Vietnamese and Japanese commerce experts will meet in Ha Noi from Feb. 16-18 in preparation for negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries, and a meeting at higher level will be held by the end of this year, according to the Trade Ministry.

The ministry said that the two sides are expected to reach an agreement, which will be the first free trade agreement signed by Viet Nam.

Japan is one of Viet Nam’s leading trade partners. In 2005, Viet Nam’s exports to Japan were estimated at 4.5 billion USD, accounting for 14.5 percent of the country’s total export turnover, up by 18 percent over the previous year. The two sides are also promoting two-way trade for a target of more than 10 billion USD in total trade value in the 2006-07 period.

Early this year, the largest bank in Japan and the world, Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ, signed a cooperation agreement with the Vietnamese Government with the aim of speeding up investment plans by Japanese businesses and increasing the investment capital of operational Japanese projects in Viet Nam. The agreement is the first of its kind signed between Viet Nam and a Japanese bank.

Under the agreement, Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank will organise regular seminars to introduce Viet Nam’s investment regulations to help Japanese businesses better understand the Vietnamese investment environment. According to Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai, Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ will cooperate with Vietnamese financial agencies in order to provide more capital for Vietnamese businesses’ operations.

Relevant Vietnamese agencies will provide the Japanese bank with amended regulations on investment and information on Japanese businesses’ operations in Viet Nam.

In the immediate future, Viet Nam will use funding provided by Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ to exploit natural energy including coal and upgrade the energy infrastructure system.