The zero import tariffs have been applied to the electronics imports from Vietnam since December 2008, when the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement AJCEP and the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement VJEPA took valid.
Under the agreements, Vietnam has also removed 2586 tariff lines, mostly the ones relating to chemicals, pharmacy and electronic products.
However, the list of Vietnamese key export items to Japan still does not include computers, electronic products and electronic parts. Meanwhile, electronic products are one of the main export items to Vietnam with the import turnover accounting for 11 percent.
It seems that the tariff cuts have only brought benefits to Japanese computer and electronics manufacturers, while Vietnamese enterprises still cannot grab the opportunity to earn more money from the Japanese market.
Explaining this, Vuong Duc Anh, a high ranking official of the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that Vietnamese enterprises have been just doing the outsourcing for foreign enterprises, and they do not have the right to make any decisions in relating matters. The export markets, therefore, would be defined by the foreign partners who outsource to Vietnamese enterprises.
Therefore, it’s understandable why Vietnam’s computer and electronics exports to Japan have not seen any significant increases.
In fact, electronic products and electronic parts have not been considered by Vietnam as potential export items to Japan, even though the export turnover of the products to Japan has been staying firmly high. In 2011, Vietnam exported one billion dollars worth of the products to Japan, up by 146 percent over 2010. Meanwhile, in the first two months of 2012 alone, the exports brought 58.8 million dollars.
Electronics have never joined the ranks of key export items like steel, wooden furniture, farm produce, garments and footwear. Vo Thanh Ha, a senior official of the Asia-Pacific Market Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said though the electronics export turnover is high, Vietnamese enterprises can only pocket a modest sum of money, because the products’ added value made in Vietnam is low, and Vietnamese enterprises have to pay for import materials.
Meanwhile, though fine art and handicrafts export turnover is lower, Vietnamese enterprises can make bigger profits, because they do not have to pay for foreign technologies and import materials.
Currently, computer, electronic products, both for domestic consumption and export, are mostly manufactured with foreign technologies and by foreign invested enterprises. Therefore, the real sum of money Vietnam can earn just amounts to a small proportion of the total value of products.
A report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that mobile phone exports ranked the second, after garments, in the list of top 10 export items in the first months of the year. Meanwhile, crude oil, which was once the biggest export item, ranked the third only.
The computer and electronics exports brought the turnover of 1.8 billion dollars in the first four months of the year. Samsung Vietnam was listed its name as one of the biggest exporter in the field. Besides, Canon, Compal, Foxconn were also the well known names.
According to Le Ngoc Son, Chair of the Vietnam Electronics Enterprises’ Association, there are nearly 500 enterprises operational in the consumer and dedicated electronic sector, 2/3 of which are Vietnamese owned. With the products exported to 50 countries and territories, Vietnam hopes to obtain the export turnover of 15-16 billion dollars in 2012. Source: Buu Dien, Cong Thuong