Vietnam wants to attract more quality investment projects from Japan, particularly in the supporting industry, according to a ministry official.

Aichi Prefecture, one of the largest economic and industrial centres in central Japan, could contribute greatly to the support industry in Vietnam, Do Nhat Hoang, director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Foreign Investment Agency, said at a meeting with Aichi Province officials in HCM City on Dec. 20.

"It would be great if Vietnam can take full advantage of the cooperation opportunities," he said, adding that the ministry's Foreign Investment Agency plans to create favourable conditions in Vietnam for Aichi investors.

Saburo Onoki, director of the Aichi prefecture's Trade and Investment Agency, said the chairman of the province as well as a business delegation would visit Vietnam in April.

Nguyen Tan Phuoc, deputy head of HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Park Authority (HEPZA), said HEPZA welcomed more investment from Japanese investors, particular Aichi businesses.

By the end of this year, HEPZA had received Japanese investment worth nearly 1 billion USD.

Phuoc said that Vietnam would consider establishing an industrial zone solely for use by Japanese small – and medium-sized enterprises.

Tran Nhu Hung, deputy director of the Sai Gon Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) Investment Holding Corporation, offered preferential policies to the Japanese business community.

The corporation, a member under the Vietnam Rubber Group, was established to manage and develop infrastructure projects for large-scale industrial parks and urban areas, such as Dong Nam and Phuoc Dong industrial parks.

The corporation will offer a preferential land rental price of 60 USD per sq.m for Dong Nam Industrial Park, and 30 USD per sq.m for Phuoc Dong Industrial Park, compared to the normal price of 65-70 USD and 35-40 USD, respectively.

Free infrastructure maintenance will also be offered for the first year, as well as free support to foreign investors for business registrations, investment licenses and labour recruitment.

During the meeting, Doan Duy Khuong, deputy director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pointed out that the weak support industries of Vietnam had created obstacles for a new wave of investment, including from Japan.

He said that macroeconomic forecasts for Vietnam were still not effective, creating challenges for Japanese companies to develop investment strategies.

VNDirect Securities Co (VND) was the most-active share nationwide with nearly 2.3 million changing hands,

According to VietCapital Securities Co analysts, shares in the Vietnamese market were trading 45 percent below those of other markets in the so-called CIVETS group of emerging markets in Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa – and 23 percent below markets in the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Although it might be too early to foresee a sustainable growth, the analysts believed that the market could create buy opportunities for medium- and long-term investors next year after plumbing new lows this year.

They advised investors to consider shares in companies with revenue streams in US dollars, such as PetroVietnam Drilling (PVD) and agricultural products and seafood processor Vinh Hoan (VHC). Others notable stocks included cash-rich consumer goods companies like Vinamilk (VNM), Phu Nhuan Jewelry Co (PNJ), and MSN.

Foreign investors yesterday net sellers in HCM City by a margin of 710 billion VND (33.5 million USD) and continued as net buyers in Hanoi, picking shares worth a net of 8.7 billion VND (410,400 USD)./.