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Japan-made products’ prices still sky high   2009-10-30 - VietNamNet/NLD

More products sourced from Japan are appearing but while the quality is good they’re still too expensive for most local consumers.


People hoped that with the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA) which took effect as of October 1, 2009, they would be able to purchase made-in-Japan products at lower prices thanks to the zero tariffs.


However, currently, the prices of the products from Japan are still far higher than the products sourced from other regional countries such as Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia.


A Tiger brand name electric cooker sourced from Japan is selling at 1.2-2 million dong, double that sourced from other South East Asian countries and 3-4 times higher than that made in China.


Sony digital cameras made in Japan now have a sale price at 12 million dong, while a Thailand-sourced product is selling at 4.5 million dong only. A Japanese 40 inch Sony LCD TV is priced at 32 million dong, while a product from Thailand is selling at 22 million dong. In HCM City, Sony LED 40 inch TV has attracted many visitors, but the price of 99.9 million dong is a fortune for them.


Electronics and home appliance centres in HCM City said they well know the tax reductions in the framework of VJEPA, but they dare not import products in large quantities for fear the imports may be unsalable.


Tong Kim Ty, deputy director of Dan Sinh Centre under Ben Thanh Trade and Service Company, said that the products are very expensive in Japan. Meanwhile, they all use 110V electric current and have instruction manual in Japanese, which may make them unfriendly to Vietnamese consumers.


According to Nguyen Minh Thu, deputy general director of Thien Hoa Home Appliance Centre, 85 percent of products available here are made in Vietnam, the other 15 percent are imports, of which Japan-made products just account for 3-5 percent.


Also according to Thu, Japan now does not have many normal products for export, because there are not many factories in the country and there are only research and development centres.

Le Hong Xuan, general director of Best Carrings, the retail chain operating under the Japanese franchise, also said imports just account for 15 percent of the total products available at the chain, while the remaining 85 percent are made in Vietnam. He said that he will not raise the percentage of the imports because of the overly high prices of the products. Besides, some products sourced from Japan would not fit Vietnamese consumers because of the different climate conditions.


Some importers also said the tax reduction process will last 5-10 years. Therefore, just modest tax reductions will be seen in 2009 which would not much affect the retail prices.


According to Kimihiro Itoki, general director of Sony Electronics Vietnam, prior to VJEPA, the import tariff on TVs imported from Japan was 40 percent. The tariff has been lowered to 3.5 percent since October, which remains very high. The zero percent tariff will be obtained by 2017 only.


Similarly, the tariff on digital cameras has been slashed from 10 percent to 7.5 percent and will only drop to zero percent by 2013. This means that Vietnamese people can only hope for ‘cheap Japanese products’ in several more years.

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