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Tell us what’s good and what’s not: PM tells corporate honchos

By Nguyen Ha   September 12, 2018 | 01:14 am PT
Tell us what’s good and what’s not: PM tells corporate honchos
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc meets representatives of 20 global corporations in Hanoi before the opening session of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN on September 12. Photo by VGP
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked 20 major corporations to share their expectations of Vietnam in the coming decade.

The Wednesday meeting was held under the auspices of the ongoing 2018 World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi before its first session opened.

Attending the meeting were representatives from 20 global corporations including Standard Chatered, Google, Facebook, Apple, Bloomberg, GE, Hitachi, Temasek, ThaiBev and several Vietnamese big corporations.

Phuc said he wants to learn more about the corporations' plans in Vietnam for the next three to five years.

He also wants to know what investors like most about the business environment in Vietnam and what bothers them most.

“Tell us your expectations about Vietnam’s economy in the next ten years so that we can work together to benefit us both. I suggest that we do not distinguish foreign investors from domestic ones, that we talk together freely like members of one big family,” the PM said.

The corporate honchos pledged to go along with the Vietnamese government’s major policies on building e-government, and developing a digital economy.

Simon Milner, vice president of public policy for Facebook Asia-Pacific, said they were committed to a long-term presence in Vietnam and wanted to be part of the digital growth vision of the Vietnamese government.

He said Facebook will work with four aspects of Vietnam’s digital growth: digital citizens, digital economy, digital government and digital connections.

Facebook was committed to supporting Vietnamese firms, especially small and medium ones and startups.

A senior executive with Thai Beverage (Thaibev) noted that the company had last year invested $5 billion in Sabeco, Vietnam’s leading beer brand.

Thaibev will promote the Sabeco brands and Vietnamese culture in global markets, the executive said.

Alex Dimitrief, senior vice president and general counsel of General Electric Company (GE), said their Vietnam investment was one of the most successful stories of the company.

The group has operated in Vietnam for 25 years and has a staff of 2,000 staff now, he said.

Around 55 percent of hospitals in Vietnam are using at least one device or technology supplied by GE; the aircraft engine produced by GE is now used in aircraft owned by Vietnam’s leading carriers Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air; and GE also owns a plant in Hai Phong producing turbines, Dimitrief said.

Yasuo Tanabe, senior vice president at Hitachi Ltd., told the PM that he felt Vietnam should focus on developing its infrastructure, digital economy and trade in order to maintain its high economic growth rate.

Tanabe also said Hitachi will get more involved in the Internet of Things in Vietnam's manufacturing sector.

He wanted the government to create a more open business environment.

Welcoming the suggestions, PM Phuc said Vietnam has been joining and will join more free trade agreements that will create opportunities for the country to integrate deeper into the global trade network.

He said the Vietnamese government always appreciates foreign investors and has been making efforts to improve the business environment so that investors can operate more effectively in the country.

Themed “Southeast Asia’s priorities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Era,” the WEF on ASEAN summit will close on Thursday.

Among the leaders of ASEAN member nations attending the event are General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Cambodian PM Hun Sen, Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and Thai Deputy PM Prajin Juntong.

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