Vietnam and Japan forecast a bright future for their trade link, with a strong growth in bilateral trade and investment in 2014 and 2015, local Vietnam News reported Thursday. The report quoted Ho Thi Kim Thoa, deputy Minister of Industry and Trade (MIT) who addressed a business forum in southern HCM City on Wednesday. According to MIT, the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement that took effect in 2009 has reduced tariffs, contributing to an increase in trade. In the next 10 years, under the agreement, tariffs would gradually decline to zero. Up to 95 percent of Vietnam\'s exports to Japan will enjoy tax reductions, while the corresponding figure for Japan will be nearly 88 percent. Preferential tariffs will be reserved for seafood, farm produce, textiles and garments, steel, chemicals and electronic spare parts, said the report, quoting sources from the ministry. Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Japan has risen by an average 20 percent annually since the agreement took effect in 2009, reaching 24.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2012. In the first eight months of 2013, bilateral trade turnover reached 16.3 billion dollars. Of that figure, Vietnam\'s exports to Japan totaled 8.8 billion dollars, with main items as furniture, seafood, steel, rice, fruit and vegetables. By August 20, 2013 Japan ranked first in total registered investment capital (33.06 billion U.S. dollars) and third in total number of projects (2,029) after South Korea and China\'s Taiwan. Japan\'s investment projects are mainly in the manufacturing sector. Japan is the biggest Official Development Assistance (ODA) donor to Vietnam. In the past five years, it has made major contributions to develop Vietnam\'s electricity industry with 12 ODA projects worth 5 billion dollars. Vietnam expects to attract about 45-50 billion dollars in foreign direct investment (FDI) from Japan by 2015, according to the ministry.