US businesses must engage in VN’s restructuring: PM

PM used the image of shoes to illustrate the profits of US investors in Việt Nam. — Photo baochinhphu.vn

US businesses must engage more strongly in Viet Nam’s economic restructuring, especially in the finance-banking sector and in state-owned enterprise equitisation, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Tuesday.

He made the remark while attending a round-table talk on the US-Viet Nam investment cooperation in New York. The event, held by Harbinger Capital and the Asia Group, involved executives of 20 leading financial groups, investment funds and firms in the US.

Phúc noted that the US has become one of Viet Nam’s leading investment partners, with 835 projects and a total registered capital of around US$10.2 billion. Many major US businesses have been present in Viet Nam for years and are running successfully. With bilateral trade crossing $47 billion in 2016, the US is now the country’s third-biggest trade partner.

The Prime Minister briefed US entrepreneurs about the country’s socio-economic situation after three decades of reforms, the opening of markets and integration. He laid emphasis on Viet Nam’s significant achievements, and said it has become a middle-income country with growing economic integration, and a close partner to almost all economies in the world.

Viet Nam is promoting mergers and acquisitions with regards to the equitisation of state-owned enterprises in fields such as transport, infrastructure, food, telecommunications, agriculture, services and tourism, he said.

The US’ exports to Viet Nam is on the rise, and he expressed confidence that the cooperation documents to be signed during his visit will help the two countries achieve a trade balance and optimise their own advantages.

“That trend is not contradictory, it supports each other. For example, Viet Nam imports machinery, equipment and some other products from the US, while exporting foods that US consumers prefer, such as fish, shrimp, fruits and footwear,” he said.

At the forum, participating US entrepreneurs assessed Viet Nam as a country with rich investment potential in various spheres, abundant human resources, social and political stability, increasing integration into the world, and a strong resolve to promote the growth of the business community.

PM welcomes representatives of US businesses to attend the round – table talk. — Photo baochinhphu.vn

Philip Falcone, president of Harbinger Capital, which has invested $4.2 billion in the Ho Tram Strip project in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, pledged to continue pushing US investors and businesses towards the Vietnamese market, and help improve bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation in the future. He hoped the Vietnamese government would create even more favourable conditions that encourage US enterprises to make long-term, stable investments.

Charles Kaye, co-chief executive officer at Warburg Pincus, described Viet Nam as a destination for investment opportunities with favourable infrastructure to access retail services, healthcare, and new technologies.

The KKR Global Institute said it is preparing a fund of around $9 billion to invest in emerging markets, including Viet Nam – markets with young population, high GDP growth, and attractive global competitiveness.

Nguyen Chi Dung, Minister of Planning and Investment, said US businesses should recognise Viet Nam’s investment environment, which has distinctive advantages, and make quick decisions on implementing programmes and projects. Viet Nam encourages US businesses to join in the equitisation of state-owned enterprises, supplement capital for business development, and promote the transfer of technology, he said.

Phuc acknowledged the frank and candid opinions of business executives at the meeting, especially their recommendations to improve the investment environment. The Vietnamese government will take these suggestions into account while forming policies, he said.

The PM quoted former US president Theodore Roosevelt who said: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there,” and said the 20-year-old cooperation relations between Viet Nam and the US are strong enough to overcome challenges and achieve higher targets.

With open and attractive policies, human resources and development potential, Viet Nam will continue to hold its position as the gateway for a dynamic ASEAN region, a strategic investment destination for foreign investors, and an important link in the global supply chain, Phuc said.

Viet Nam welcomes investors to areas such as infrastructure development, high-quality services, energy, manufacturing, tourism, and especially the capital market, the PM said. Businesses can engage in the stock and bond markets, develop information technology, do education-training, aviation, among other things.

Efforts are continuing to build an action-orientated, facilitating government that creates optimal conditions for all entrepreneurs and investors so that they can easily access business opportunities and operations in Viet Nam for mutual benefit, he added.

Phúc also invited US businesses to invest in the field of medicines and introduce more competitive rates to the advantage of Vietnamese citizens.

Later in the day, the PM had meetings with executives of leading business groups that are launching big investment projects in Viet Nam, such as Exxon Mobil, Coca Cola, Nike and Harbinger Capital. He reiterated the country’s economic reforms and briefed them on policies and changes aimed at making it easier for domestic and foreign enterprises to do business in Viet Nam. — VNS



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