Nation's growth remains among region's fastest
HCM CITY (VNS)— Viet Nam and the Philippines will be the countries with high potentials in the Asean region in the next 10 years, Bernardo Villegas, a professor at the Philippines' University of Asia&the Pacific, said at an investment conference held in HCM City yesterday.
"VIP acronym now in use stands for three populous ASEAN countries, Viet Nam, Indonesia and the Philippines. They will have a rapid growth rate compared to Japan, Korea and Singapore," he said.
With a total consumer market of more than 400 million, the VIP countries have a reasonable chance of competing with the two giant Asian economies, China and India, in attracting foreign investors looking for both domestic markets to sell to and as bases from which to export.
"The three countries are at the same stages of economic development and have the advantage of a young labour force, compared to Thailand, which is ageing fast," he said.
Even their Asean colleagues, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, had suffered declines in their GDPs because of their heavier dependence on exports, he added.
More than ever, the VIP countries demonstrated the advantages of a large population in insulating a country from the ups and downs of global markets.
According to the Wider World in 2050 Report from HSBC, the Philippine economy will be the 16th largest economy by 2050, surpassing Indonesia, Australia, Argentina, Malaysia and Thailand.
A growth rate of 7-10 per cent for the Philippines is possible in the next 10 years.
However, Villega noted that there would be a food shortage in the next 10-20 years. "However, Viet Nam has an advantage in producing food, especially high – value food."
He said the Philippines needed technical support from Viet Nam to produce agricultural products.
Bilateral trade between Viet Nam and the Philippines has reached $1.6 billion. The Phillipines imported $849.4 million of Vietnamese food and products. Vietnamese rice makes up 50 per cent of export value to the Philippines.
Le Manh Ha, vice chairman of HCM City People's Committee said: "There is a lively partnership between the Philippines and Vietnamese businesses as manifested by the frequent exchange of top-level business delegations between the two countries in August and October."
He added that HCM City authorities would create favourable conditions for Philippine investors.
Nguyen Vu Tu, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Viet Nam to the Philippines, said the two countries should cooperate in the fields of education, health, franchise and retail.
Short education-exchange programmes for Vietnamese students would be useful, especially in English, which is widely used in the Philippines.
At the conference, Lu Thanh Phong, vice director of HCM City Department of Planning and Investment, said HCM City would be an ideal investment destination for Philippine investors.
Sixty-five per cent of the population is young, and the city has a well-developed medical-care system, 23 department stores, 92 supermarkets and 230 traditional markets.
HCM City contributes more than 20 per cent of the national GDP, with industrial output accounting for 27.9 per cent of national industrial output.
The number of FDI projects in HCM City accounts for nearly 35 per cent of the country's total FDI projects. — VNS