|Blueco Vina JSC workers manufacture electronic devices in Hai Phong City's Trang Due Industrial Zone. The zone has attracted US$297 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) this year, raising the total registered capital here to $2.1 billion. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HA NOI (VNS) — There needs to be more improvement on administrative reform and anti-corruption work for Viet Nam to integrate into the world economy, said Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh at the one-day Viet Nam Business Forum (VBF) 2015 held in Ha Noi yesterday.
Vinh shared his opinion to about 500 local and international participants who attended the VBF to discuss ways to improve local competitiveness.
The forum, organised three times a year, was hosted by the International Financial Corporation (IFC), Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
Minister Vinh said that although the business and investment environment and administrative procedures were improved, the enforcement of them remained weak, showing the low competitiveness of the economy.
According to him, the MPI has recently issued six decrees and three circulars to guide investment and enterprise laws.
The minister said FDI enterprises in Viet Nam had grown strongly while local enterprises were not that strong. He urged for co-operation and linkages between the two sides for the best result of development.
Also, VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc appreciated the general institutional reforms of the local Government, he still thought they did not meet the expectations of businesses yet.
A VCCI survey showed that complicated administrative, customs and tax procedures were still barriers to private enterprises, especially the bigger one. Loc said the bigger and more successful the local companies were, the more frequent and heavier administration checks they had, thus, some enterprises had reshaped themselves to be smaller for a better working result.
As a result, Loc said, it led to a growing number of small and super small enterprises in Viet Nam.
Meanwhile, Viet Nam is joining the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the future Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and signing more negotiations for free trade with other countries where bigger companies will have more chances to gain.
Minister Vinh said it was necessary to have an improvement of the legal system to support local enterprises, to enhance competitiveness.
Addressing the forum, VBF co-chairman Virginia B.Foote, praised the significant progress in many important issues made for the business community, particularly in the negotiation of TPP in October. However, she thought there should be more improvement made on anti-corruption, administrative reform as well as direct cash transactions between enterprises.
Meanwhile, American Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sherry Boger said: "Viet Nam has succeeded at attracting FDI and increasing trade. The trade between Viet Nam and the USA will likely reach over $45 billion in 2015, another annual increase of over 20 per cent."
She added that it was expected to reach $80 billion by 2020 or higher after TPP takes effect.
However, she saw very few Vietnamese firms in global supply chains and the corruption rate was still high.
She suggested a limit on cash transactions but further electronic transactions as one way to fight with the corruption in Viet Nam, while an efficient customs administration and trade facilitation is essential for local firms to join global supply chains.
A representative of the Australian Chamber said the local laws of investment and enterprise complied with comments from investors and enterprises were good moves but those laws would have no use without decrees and circulars for the implementation.
To boost the local enterprises, VCCI Chairman Loc said local private enterprises should seek to co-operate with big multi-national companies. Loc said to be in the global value chain, enterprises must work transparently and with innovation while the Government should support them with favourable policies.
Kyle F. Kelhofer, regional director of IFC thought Viet Nam should promote the innovative business sector to foster the global value chain.
Also attending the forum, Viet Nam Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, said the World Bank's Doing Business 2016 report moved Viet Nam up three notches in the ranking, from 93rd last year to 90th position. He said Viet Nam could reach gross domestic product growth of 6.4 per cent this year, adding that the result could not be reached without support from local and foreign investors.
Ninh said the Government would open more to hear their voices, adjust the policies to make their work better and to contribute to overall development.
Although the bad debt ratio was still high, Viet Nam was on track to reform and to have a healthy financial system, Kyle said.
On agriculture development, Kyle said cheap labour and natural resources were being used to exhaustion, so the country should have more private participants in agriculture.
At the forum, Tomaso Andreatta, vice chairman of Euro Chamber, said the country should foster the Public Private Partnership for infrastructure as it played the key role in developing the economy, and cut the cost of production and businesses.
Visas were also an issue mentioned at the forum. AusCham said Viet Nam has visa exemption for citizens of 21 countries. It was lower than in neighboring countries such as Malaysia with exemption for 164 countries, the Philippines with exemption for 157 countries and Thailand with exemption for 52 countries.
Tran Van Du, deputy director of immigration management department, Ministry of Public Security said that all the recommendations would be reviewed
The forum also mentioned issues related to trade, investment, banking, capital market, agriculture, education and training, infrastructure and governance transparency, considering them key issues for local development. — VNS