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U.S. trade reps advise Vietnam on attracting more investment

By Vuong Duc Anh   March 24, 2016 | 12:15 am PT
U.S. trade reps advise Vietnam on attracting more investment
U.S. Trade Representatives suggested local officials get out of the office and actively seek investors in order to improve business opportunities and attract investment from the U.S.

The 'Meet the USA' seminar held yesterday in Hanoi was attended by representatives of more than 50 U.S. businesses and 40 local officials, and was organized by Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. embassy in Hanoi ahead of the May visit of U.S. President Barack Obama. 

At the seminar, commercial counselor at the U.S. Embassy Stuart Schaag said Vietnam's regions had many high-quality goods, but producers did not know how to "offer" them to international businesses. 

He said the choice of investments by American businesses was entirely at their discretion, without any government intervention. When they wanted to invest in Vietnam, they would seldom learn about the market through government officials, and Vietnam’s regions needed to directly promote their unique products.  

He advised the Vietnamese officials to leave their desks and participate in international conferences, meet investors and seek opportunities to show how their area’s products differed from elsewhere.

“Today, competition is not only between countries but also between the locals. This really is a race,” Schaag said. Competition makes each local area develop differently, and they can only sell their products if they actively offer them, he added. 

Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, Sherry Boger, said many U.S. businesses were looking for investment opportunities in Vietnam's regions. However, there should be more developed infrastructure, services and administrative procedures to make it more convenient for U.S. investors, she suggested.

"Some U.S. businesses have lost patience because procedures in Vietnam are quite slow. The TPP is approaching, and Vietnam has to prepare quickly and take action because this is an opportunity for the country to place itself in an important position on the world map,” Boger said.

In response, the leaders of Vietnam provinces expressed their desire to welcome a wave of investment from U.S. businesses. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung said that Vietnam – U.S. relations were continuing to strengthen and move in a positive direction, with increasing opportunities for cooperation.

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