Vietnam to begin work on international financial center in earnest

By Minh Son   January 10, 2021 | 03:30 pm GMT+7
Vietnam to begin work on international financial center in earnest
An employee counts U.S. banknotes at a bank in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
After years of delay, Vietnam will begin implementing this year a plan to establish an international financial center in the country.

The country now has "a once in a lifetime opportunity" to establish an international financial center (IFC), and major cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang should start hiring consultancies and building detailed plans to report to the government and the Politburo, the main decision making of the Communist Party, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said at a recent forum.

An international financial center will attract international capital and increase government revenues, he said.

An international financial center comprises a region or city with full-service financial centers with direct access to large capital pools from banks, insurance companies, investment funds, and listed capital markets.

It enables a host of companies, institutions and individuals from around the world to meet complex needs like financing supply chains and managing risk.

Dung cited the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Sea as an example. Forty years ago, the territory had a GDP of zero, but after an international financial center was established, it sees capital flows of up to $2 trillion a day.

Authorities do not collect tax but collect up to $300 million from service fees a day, he said.

Vietnam even has more advantages in terms of geographical location, population and economic scale, the minister stressed.

HCMC is only three hours away from most countries and territories in ASEAN and Northeast Asia, and the country’s time zone does not coincide with any of the 21 existing international financial centers in the world, he noted.

Vietnam will lose its opportunity if it doesn’t make a move now as another international financial centers could be established faster in the same time zone, he said.

HCMC authorities have several times in the past expressed their desire to become an international financial center but never succeeded due to a lack of policy support and high-quality human resources. It has made this one of its goals in its 2021-2030 development plan (with vision until 2045).

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