Foreign firms urge Vietnam government to improve investment environment

By Dat Nguyen   February 21, 2022 | 07:57 pm PT
Foreign firms urge Vietnam government to improve investment environment
Containers are seen at the Cat Lai Terminal in Ho Chi Minh City, December 24, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
Foreign companies said they see great growth potential in Vietnam as it recovers from impacts of Covid-19 but more needs to be done to improve its business environment.

Speaking at the 2022 Vietnam Business Forum organized online in Hanoi Monday with South Korean, European and American business executives participating, chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, Kim Han-yong, acclaimed Vietnam for regaining its growth momentum despite the pandemic-related difficulties.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which came into effect this year, is set to make the country the trade center of Southeast Asia, he said.

But the implementation of RCEP commitments related to trade origins, certificates and taxes have yet to be streamlined and this needs to be done soon so that businesses could benefit from the trade pact, he said.

Alain Cany, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), said the quick pace of vaccination has helped the country gradually reopen, which has boosted the confidence of European businesses in Vietnam as seen in the Business Climate Index’s rise from 42 points to 61 in January.

But the government needs to use technology in administration to simplify procedures, lower costs and stimulate innovation, he said.

Vietnamese companies also need to take advantage of digital services in international trade, he added.

John Rockhold, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam), expressed confidence in the future of American businesses in the country.

The pandemic showed the importance of transportation and energy infrastructure in maintaining growth, and Vietnam has been focusing investment in this area by developing roads, ports, airports, and bridges, he said.

Rockhold called for making immigration procedures more flexible for air transport staff and streamlining customs.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said the economic stimulus package of VND350 trillion, or over 4 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, would focus on dealing with the pandemic, creating jobs, reviving businesses, and investing in key projects.

Improving the business environment and administrative procedures is also on the agenda, he said.

The Vietnam Business Forum is an annual summit between the government and businesses, both local and foreign. This year it was hosted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and World Bank.

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