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Attracting Japanese Investors into South Central Coast: Proactive and Dynamic Approach Needed

Posted: Monday, October 23, 2017

Seven Southern Central provinces, namely Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan, possess many advantages to economic development, but the region attracts only about two percent of the total Japanese enterprises investing in Vietnam. In this context, the conference "Meet Japan 2017- South Central Coast " organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Khanh Hoa People's Committee and the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam in the coastal city of Nha Trang - Khanh Hoa province, is seen as an opportunity for localities in the region to improve the situation and promote the attraction of Japanese FDI flows in the future.

The "Meet Japan 2017- South Central Coast" conference delved into four official sessions focusing on the practical aspects of cooperation, opportunities, prospects as well as obstacles in cooperation between localities in South Central Coast and Japan. The event proposed specific directions and measures to tighten cooperation between the two countries, especially in four key areas: industry-energy; agriculture-fisheries; vocational training; tourism-real estate resort.
A report presented at the meeting showed that Japan is the leading strategic partner of Vietnam; the second largest country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA), third in terms of tourism and fourth in trade. However, most projects of Japanese investors are concentrated in the North and South of Vietnam, while the South Central Coast has attracted only 52 enterprises out of more than 2,500 Japanese investments in Vietnam, accounting for about two per cent, shy of the potential for cooperation between the two countries. As for tourism, Japanese tourists also do not know much about the famous tourist sites in the South Central region.

Mr Koichiro Abe, Director of Raycean Company, said that most Japanese businesses investing in Vietnam only know about three economic centres, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang. Therefore, the conference is to help Japanese investors know more about the potential strength of the region, then make a proper decision.

Undeniably, ODA from Japan has become an important financial source for investment in the development of infrastructure, paving the way for investment in socio-economic development in these localities. However, the number of Japanese FDI projects in the South Central provinces is too small, while the potential for cooperation between this region and the country remains very large, requiring the two governments of Vietnam and Japan to have a strategy to strengthen cooperation and have an appropriate roadmap to step by step increase Japanese FDI inflow into this region.

According to the economic experts at the conference, besides the mechanisms of cooperation between the two governments, the role of local authorities in the South Central region is considered a decisive factor to attract investment from Japanese enterprises. Accordingly, localities should take the initiative in studying, seizing opportunities and creating favourable conditions for investment attraction, and effective implementation of cooperation projects with Japanese investors.
On behalf of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) recommends the southern central provinces to further promote the introduction and promotion of local potential and attract Japanese investors, especially in such potential fields as tourism, infrastructure, energy, etc. Each locality needs to clearly define its unique advantages to attract investment. The cooperation potential, open cooperation opportunities and the key to open success depend on the active and dynamic roles of each locality so that the potential south-central land strip soon becomes the ideal destination for investors in the coming time.

The bilateral talks between the Ambassador of Japan and the leaders of seven provinces in South Central Vietnam and meetings between businesses of the two sides were held in the framework of the "Meet Japan 2017". The meeting "Meet Japan - Khanh Hoa" organised by the People's Committee of Khanh Hoa province attracted the attention of 75 enterprises and economic groups of Japan.

At the event, Khanh Hoa province introduced to Japanese investors three bays which the province focused on attracting investment in the coming time including Nha Trang Bay, Van Phong Bay and Cam Ranh Bay. These are three beautiful bays, valuable in many aspects, so one of the key tasks for socio-economic development in the immediate and long term of Khanh Hoa is continue to implement three key economic zones, associated with these three bays.

Up to now, there have been 98 FDI projects in Khanh Hoa with total capital of US$2,975 million, of which seven FDI projects from Japan with a total registered capital of US$2,051 million, accounting for 68.94 percent of total FDI. Through the "Meet Japan - South Central region 2017" and "Meet Japan - Khanh Hoa", it is expected that there will be a wave of Japanese investment in the southern central provinces in general and Khanh Hoa province in particular. Khanh Hoa province pledged to create the most favourable conditions for Japanese investors to implement their projects rapidly and have them put into operation in the shortest time possible.

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