HCM CITY (VNS)— Singaporean businesses want long-term co-operation with Vietnamese partners, the head of the island nation's main business group has said.
Ho Meng Kit, chairman of the Singapore Business Federation, told the Viet Nam – Singapore Business Forum 2013 in HCM City yesterday, "This year Viet Nam is the second country after Myanmar where SBF members are keen to venture into.
"It is a testament to the continuing Singapore business interest in and engagement with the Vietnamese market."
He said Vietnamese businesses should expand investment and trading ties with their Singaporean counterparts and explore business opportunities in third countries through Singapore.
Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said Singaporean businesses should be positive about the future of Viet Nam despite the current challenges.
The policies and regulations put in place by the Government last year, have stabilised and improved the economy, he pointed out.
"We see a stable exchange rate, economic growth of about 5 per cent and inflation of about 7 per cent (February 2012), down from 18.13 per cent for the previous year.
"The Government is continuing to take bold steps to reform the economy and restructure the banking sector." He was confident that, "Viet Nam would be an investment destination for multinational corporations, including Singaporean" since it has a population of 90 million, 51.8 million of them aged between 18 and 31.
"Viet Nam is also committed to consistent policies for foreign investors, and the Government seeks to simplify administrative procedures to facilitate investment and business."
Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the two countries are working towards signing a Strategic Partnership Agreement this year.
It would set out a broad framework for the two countries to strengthen trade and investment relations, and enter into closer co-operation in various fields, he said.
"Singaporean investors should continue to invest in industrial parks, logistics, tourism, healthcare, education, services, foods, consumer goods, and urban development.
"These are the strengths of Singaporean companies and also what Viet Nam wants to develop."
Through co-operation with Singaporean businesses, Vietnamese firms can access not only modern technologies but also global distribution systems and learn business management. "Building Economic Linkages: The way forward," the forum, will go on until tomorrow.
It is jointly hosted by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Singapore Business Federation, and is among the early activities to commemorate the 40th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
It seeks to encourage exchanges between leading Vietnamese and Singapore companies.
It is being attended by industry experts, policymakers, and government officials from Singapore and Viet Nam to provide insights into business opportunities in both countries.
It will focus on four panel discussions centered on the key industries of real estate financing; healthcare services; tourism; and agriculture production and processing and logistics.
There will be business matching sessions, exhibition booths, and the option of making visits to industrial parks and hospitals.
A recent survey by the SBF found 43 per cent of respondents having a business presence in Viet Nam as of 2012.
Trade between two countries has grown steadily over the last decade, rising to US$12.7 billion last year, making Viet Nam Singapore's 18th largest trading partner.
Singapore has invested $27 billion in 1,139 projects in Viet Nam. —VNS