The Japanese Government has pledged to invest in six key industrial sectors in Vietnam.

The money will go towards household electricity, food processing, shipbuilding, agricultural machinery, environment and energy saving and the automobile and spare part production industry.

Nguyen Thi Tue Anh, head of the Central Institute for Economic Management's Business Environment and Competitive Capacity Department, said the selected sectors fell under Vietnam 's industrialisation strategy in their co-operation programme with Japan .

Accordingly, a range of support industries serving for the six key sectors would also be considered for financial assistance.

Vietnam and Japan have built a supervisory system to monitor the programme. Plans have also been made for the establishment of two industrial zones in the north and the south of the country in order to attract more Japanese investors.

Anh told the Vietnam Investment Review that each sector will choose two or three sub-areas where the support is most needed. An action plan for each will then be designed.

She said the food processing, agricultural machinery and shipbuilding industries have been unproductive and uncompetitive despite their potential.

In comparison, the household electricity and automobile sectors have seen rapid growth, contributing to exports and attracting many Japanese investors.

However, these sectors have focused mainly on the assembly phase due to a lack of support in other areas of operation. Meanwhile, the environment and energy industry has displayed huge potential for producing energy saving products.

Anh said that the expansion of the sectors should be closely linked with rising value, and supervised by the Government through industrial policies.

The selected industries were targeted so that they would be in a position to adapt to competition when the tariff barrier in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is lifted by 2018. The six sectors were chosen from a group of 39, all with long-term growth potential.

Hirohoko Sekiya, chief consultant of the Japan Economics Research Institute, said Japanese businesses have paid a great deal of attention to four sub-units including seafood, rice, coffee and vegetable processing.

He told the newspaper that if Vietnam could improve these products then it would increase its exports sharply. For example, vegetables could be sold in higher quantities to foreign markets if road infrastructure was improved and transport time shortened.-VNA