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Cheap Japanese goods about to get cheaper in Vietnam   2009-09-21 - VietNamNet/SGTT

It means stiffer competition for manufacturers but good news for consumers as the Viet Nam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA) starts October 1.


New Japan-Vietnam trade pact looks set to boost imports


From the beginning of next month thousands of Japanese imports will have a zero per cent import tariff. 


It means luxury goods becoming more widely affordable with bargain products becoming cheaper still.


Japanese goods are already widely regarded by Vietnamese consumers as high-grade, high-price products. However, retailers warn with VJEPA set to take effect, Japanese goods may flood the market.


It’s estimated 40,000 Japan-sourced items are already being sold in the domestic market - with a significant increase now expected.


Housewife Le Mai Ngoc Tra of District 5,  HCM City, is a loyal customer of Daiso supermarket, which specialises in selling Japanese made and sourced products.


She points out goods not only include luxury electronics and home appliances, but also more mundane tools ranging from fish descalers to lemon squeezers.


She comments: “Japanese producers understand customers well and know how to lure them. Each item values at just 30,000 dong, or $1.8. They’re affordable but useful and attractive too.”


Consumers have so far welcomed the contrast offered by Japanese goods – in particular strange but attractive designs not traditionally available in Viet Nam.


The Daiso supermarket chain, run under a Japanese franchise by Vietnam’s Tri Phuc Company , is now the biggest supermarket chain specialising in Japanese goods. A total of 30,000 product items are on sale.


According to Tri Phuc, 50 per cent of the products available, each priced at 30,000 dong, are made in Japan.


A further 20 per cent of products are Japan-sourced but made in China with other stock including South Korean cosmetics and Thai souvenirs and hairclips.


Rival store Hachi Hachi sells 4,000 products at price levels of 30,000, 35,000 and 40,000, but shop manager Huu Anh confirms that while products are imported from Japan, not all are made there.


Anh says that Japan-made goods account for 60 percent of all goods with the rest hailing from India, China and the Philippines.


Meanwhile owners of Maximark say Japanese imports now account for three per cent of its total of 10,000 products.


Director Nguyen Phuong Thao notes that although it only started stocking Japanese goods just over one month ago, sales have been increasing steadily.


She says: “The products all have beautiful designs, while the prices are very reasonable.


Thao adds that there are now 20 companies importing Japanese products – where, up until recently,  there was only three.


With the demand for Japanese goods set to increase thanks to VJEPA, Hachi Hachi says it plans to further increase imports.


“We have the opportunity to boost sales once the tariffs are lowered,” Anh says.


Thuy Trang, director of Daiso in Vietnam ponders – with the supermarket selling all products at 30,000 dong when the tariff is 20-40 per cent, how low can they go with a zero percent tariff?

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