Vietnam Pledges to Improve Business Environment

The Vietnamese government is striving to fulfill its promises to improve the business environment and facilitate foreign investors, a cabinet leader said Thursday.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai told a business conference in Hanoi that the government “commits to ensuring an open and transparent environment” for investors by continuing its reforms.

The “Doing Business in Vietnam” forum, one of the key events of the ongoing Global Summit of Women hosted in Hanoi from June 5-7, attracted nearly 1,000 delegates from businesses both at home and abroad to exchange views on the country’s investment policies and opportunities.

The domestic economy is suffering from the highest inflation rate since at least 1992 and a widening trade deficit that has more than tripled compared to the same period last year.

Inflation reached 25.2 percent in May while increasing imports pushed Vietnam’s trade deficit to US$14.4 billion for the first five months of this year.

But Hai said the business environment was still “stable” and “very promising.”

“At this time when the economy suffers some temporary difficulties, investors still stay and only speculators leave,” he said.

He blamed part of the problems on impacts of the world market as well as “consumers’ psychological factor.”

“The world market never has been affected by so many factors like in the current time, such as increases in oil and food prices and rampant speculation in almost all kinds of goods,” Hai said.

Hai said the government was carrying out measures to stabilize the macro-economy, including cutting public spending and restricting the imports of luxury goods.

Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the business circle supported the measures, which have proven effective.

Despite current difficulties, the country still attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) worth around $15 billion in the first five months of the year.

“By strengthening investments, the business community believes that … the Vietnamese economy has great potential to develop in the long term,” Loc said.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam currently hosts more than 9,000 projects with a combined registered capital of $100 billion from 81 countries and territories.

Many multinational giants, including Sony, Canon, IBM, Intel, Ford, Toyota and BP, have invested in Vietnam.

The foreign-invested sector contributed to 55 percent of Vietnam’s total export turnover, 36 percent of its industrial production and 17 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

In a report last November, the World Bank ranked Vietnam 91 out of 178 economies in the category of “ease of doing business,” up 13 positions from 2006.

Thanh Nien News.