Vietnamese businesses had a chance to update information on the Japanese markets and expand their business in the northeast Asian country, thanks to a workshop in Hanoi on May 22.

Vo Thanh Ha from Asia-Pacific Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade pointed out difficulties for Vietnamese companies when they penetrate the Japanese market, such as high technical standards for industry and agriculture and technical barriers for each agricultural product, as well as the distribution system and trade promotion costs in Japan.

He suggested Vietnamese businesses learn about Japan and its business practices, regulations and standards, and prepare customs information ahead of fairs or workshops in Japan, ensuring effective negotiations and reduced expenditure.

At the workshop, themed “Japanese market – opportunity for Vietnamese business”, Le Hoang Oanh, Deputy Director of the Ministry’s Trade Promotion Department, said that along with the Japan-ASEAN comprehensive partnership agreement, Vietnam and Japan had signed a bilateral economic partnership pact in 2008, creating a legal framework for the two countries’ economic ties and trade.

The countries saw strong development in economic, trade, industrial and investment cooperation in 2011, despite Japan suffered from the earthquake and tsunami disaster and nuclear crisis.

The Ministry’s statistics showed that trade between Vietnam and Japan reached 21.1 billion USD last year, a year-on-year increase of 26 percent. Of this, Vietnam ’s exports to Japan were valued at 10.7 billion, up by 39 percent.

Vietnam’s key exports to Japan included seafood, apparel, wooden and plastic products, coffee, leatherwork and footwear.

In the first three months of this year, Vietnam ’s exports reached 3.1 billion USD, while imports from Japan cost 2.5 billion USD.

Japan is a leading investor among 26 nations and territories investing in Vietnam with a total capital of 2.3 billion US, accounting for 88.8 percent of the country’s total foreign investment./.