Vietnam wants to make itself a better place to do business, PM tells APEC forum

By Ha Thu   November 7, 2017 | 04:40 pm GMT+7
Vietnam wants to make itself a better place to do business, PM tells APEC forum
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the Vietnam Business Summit (VBS) in the central city of Da Nang on November 7. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong

'Vietnam has shown how dynamic it can be through active international integration and strong support for free world trade.'

Vietnam will continue to show that it is a good place to do business, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a business summit on Tuesday in central Vietnam as part of the ongoing Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

Vietnam has proven itself to be a “reliable business partner” over the years, Phuc told the Vietnam Business Summit (VBS) in Da Nang.

56 percent of U.S. firms operating in Southeast Asia ranked Vietnam as the most attractive bilateral trade pact partner in the region in a survey of 317 businesses conducted by AmCham Singapore in September.

The World Bank said Vietnam’s development record has been remarkable since 1986 when economic and political reforms were adopted under the doi moi (renovation) movement, spurring rapid economic growth and development and transforming Vietnam from one of the world’s poorest nations to a lower middle-income country, Phuc said.

He said economic reforms have resulted in high average annual growth of around 7 percent, and average annual income is expected to rise to $2,300 this year from $2,109 last year.

“Vietnam has shown how dynamic it can be through active international integration and strong support for free world trade.”

Vietnam offers great opportunities for investors as 60 percent of its population of 95 million are aged under 35, and more than half of the population is online, standing fifth in the Asia Pacific region, he added.

To help Vietnam improve its business environment, the prime minister put forward three suggestions: improving policies and procedures in a way that can support the private sector while strengthening state management capacity; pushing the development of startups; and reforming tax policies to make the market more competitive, transparent, and efficient in line with international standards.

Despite the opportunities Vietnam has to offer, local businesses still find themselves in difficulties as most of them are new and lacking in experience and skills, Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said at the VBS.

He asked experts and global CEOs attending the APEC Summit to help Vietnamese companies connect with foreign partners and develop.

Leaders from the 21 APEC nations are gathering in Da Nang for the summit with thousands of businesspeople, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, UPS CEO David Abney, and chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan Asia Pacific Nicolas Aguzin.

Official government data released in May showed that Vietnam has taken significant steps to improve its business environment since an official meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and local companies in April last year.

Around 96 percent of the more than 4,700 administrative procedures needed to conduct business in Vietnam have been simplified and the government has also looked into 77 percent of the 1,100 proposals made by businesses.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam had attracted $25.48 billion in foreign investment as of September 20, up 34 percent against the same period last year.