The management board of the HCM City Export Processing Zone Authority (HEPZA) and the Association of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises in Ehime Prefecture in Japan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on investment cooperation during a meeting held in HCM City on October 30.

Japanese and Vietnamese officials as well as representatives of enterprises from Ehime were meeting in the city to seek closer business ties.

It is expected that the MoU will boost investment of enterprises from Ehime Prefecture to HCM City in upcoming years.

Earlier this year, the governor of Ehime Prefecture visited Vietnam to discuss the possibility of future business between the two countries.

HCM City has set up several industrial zones to attract Japanese investors, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, and those operating in the support industry.

Joko Toshifumi, the vice governor of Ehime Prefecture, said several Japanese enterprises in the high-tech manufacturing industry had opened factories in HCM City and the provinces of Tay Ninh and Long An.

Under the MoU, the association will act as a bridge to introduce the city's industrial parks and export processing zones to Ehime's enterprises, while HEPZA will provide consulting services on legal and investment procedures to companies from Ehime Prefecture.

HEPZA will also arrange for a business delegation from Ehime to visit industrial parks and export processing zones in HCM City.

Murata Yuuji, deputy head of Japan's Ehime Prefecture's Association of Small-and-Medium-sized Enterprises, expects the visit to intensify economic cooperation between the city and Japan.

The central association has 414 member associations with a total of 28,000 small-and medium-sized enterprises as members.

Vu Van Hoa, head of the city's Export Processing Zone Authority's management board, said the city's 16 industrial parks and export processing zones had attracted 1,314 projects with total registered capital of nearly 9 billion USD, of which 5 billion USD was foreign investment.

Japan is currently the biggest investor in the city's industrial parks and export processing zones, with $1.36 billion invested in 116 projects.

Japanese enterprises have invested in mechanics, electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and food industries.

HCM City seeks to attract small- and medium-sized enterprises from Japan, especially those in the support industry that produce components for the electronics and automobile industries.

Hoa said the city had prepared infrastructure to receive support-industry enterprises in Binh Chanh District's Le Minh Xuan 3 Industrial Park and Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in Nha Be District. The two industrial parks are built on 304ha of land.

He said the 13-ha Vie-Pan Techno Park would open in December to receive Japanese enterprises from Ehime now operating in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park.-VNA