Foreign firms complain about persistent Vietnamese red tape

By Duc Minh   October 16, 2023 | 07:17 am PT
Foreign firms complain about persistent Vietnamese red tape
AmCham chairman John Rockhold speaks at the conference on Oct. 16, 2023 in Hanoi. Photo courtesy of VGP
Vietnam’s sluggish approval process continues to hinder the progress of foreign projects, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham) and foreign executives.

At a conference held to hear out foreign investors chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Hanoi on Monday, AmCham chairman John Rockhold said this was damaging the country’s competitiveness.

The Government should clarify regulations that are slowing the effective implementation of foreign investment, and review draft laws to avoid creating additional administrative burdens, he said.

Gaur Dattatreya, CEO of Bosch Global Software Technologies Company, said frequent changes implemented to improve mechanisms and institutions in Vietnam often combine with unclear overlapping responsibilities between different authorities, which leads to a lack of transparency and consistency in Government policies and decisions.

This can be seen in many different areas such as investment, import regulations, and licensing, with inevitable negative consequences for the business community, he said.

David Whitehead, vice president of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (Auscham), said Vietnam needs an overall adjustment in licensing processes and procedures to create a more favorable business environment.

According to Whitehead, regulations on land use, tax incentives, and work permit issuance need to be clearly stipulated to eliminate unnecessary procedures and conditions.

This will help attract large-scale foreign direct investment to Vietnam, especially in new industries such as semiconductors and chips, he said.

Other foreign-invested enterprises in Vietnam also proposed that the country focus more on developing human resources to serve high-quality foreign-investment projects.

He said this was the way to upgrade infrastructure and logistics, and promote the green economy. He added that he would help implement specific actions towards the controversial imposition of a global minimum tax.

Chinh said he would protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors in Vietnam "in any case."

The government policy is to always help businesses overcome difficulties on the principle of harmonious benefits and shared risks, he added.

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