Viet Nam News
THE HAGUE – Việt Nam vows to lift restrictions in areas including services, telecommunications, financing and banking among others, facilitating foreign investors’ engagement and raising their ownership stakes in the country, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
Addressing the Việt Nam - Netherlands Business Forum in The Hague yesterday, PM Phúc told 450 participating enterprises including nearly 300 from the host country that “you can become strategic shareholders of many Vietnamese State-owned enterprises that are about to sell shares on the market.”
He informed the businesses that Việt Nam had signed 12 free trade agreements and will soon sign the Việt Nam – EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) with the European Union (EU).
He added that in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report the country climbed to 82nd position from 91st last year whereas the World Economic Forum ranked Việt Nam 60th out of 138 countries in competitiveness.
Việt Nam expects to achieve 6.7 per cent GDP growth this year, up from 6.1 per cent last year.
At the forum, PM Phúc said that Việt Nam’s policies helped the Netherlands’ enterprises increase investment and processing capability as Việt Nam increases its status in the global value chain.
“The Netherlands’ export of farm produce reaches US$94 billion whilst Việt Nam has exported up to $33 billion in recent years,” said the PM.
Facing increased climate change impacts in Việt Nam, PM Phúc said the country expected the Netherlands’ private sector would help the Southeast Asian nation tackle the challenge.
“This is a huge opportunity for the Netherlands’ enterprises, particularly small and medium ones,” he said.
“If we can grasp the opportunity and uphold the diplomatic advantages, especially under the context of soon signing the EVFTA, the Netherlands and Việt Nam will surely yield fruit exceeding the current achievements and forge a deep and comprehensive economic connection between ASEAN and EU.”
He said that Netherlands’ investors could approach the community of 700 million in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Recalling Dutch merchants arriving in Quảng Nam Province’s Hội An Port in the 17th century, PM Phúc underscored that the Netherlands is one of Việt Nam’s large trade partners and markets in the Europe. Two-way trade exceeds $7 billion.
By the end of March, the Netherlands’ investment in Việt Nam reached $7.65 billion, leading all European countries.
Deals up to $700 million
On the occasion, PM Phúc witnessed the signing of deals among businesses from both sides worth some $700 million.
Speaking at the business forum, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands, Lodewijck Asscher said the signing of agreements among businesses was significant but benefiting people of both sides was more important.
With 90 million people, Việt Nam is a huge market, Asscher said.
The EU passing the EVFTA will create impetus for co-operation between Việt Nam and the EU, he said.
“The Netherlands is ready to share with Việt Nam experiences in the construction of irrigation projects and smart cities, farm production, management of food safety and climate change response,” Deputy PM Asscher said.
Michael van Straalen, acting chairman of Royal Association of MKB-Nederland, the largest entrepreneurs’ organisation in the Netherlands, said co-operation between small and medium-sized enterprises in the Vietnamese economy was developing rapidly, which is crucial to boosting the country’s socio-economic development.
“In the Netherlands, global companies still work with small ones, creating diversity and flexibility for the economy,” he said, adding that most enterprises in the Netherlands are family-run, small and medium-sized enterprises but they contribute two-thirds of the GDP and account for 70 per cent of employment.
He hoped that the forum would be an opportunity for enhanced co-operation between the Governments and enterprises from both countries.
PM hosts international business leaders in Netherlands
On Sunday, Prime Minister Phúc hosted receptions for leaders of several economic groups and organisations in Amsterdam on Sunday as part of his ongoing official visit to the Netherlands.
Meeting with Chairman of the Board of Austrian Vamed Group Ernst Wastler, the PM thanked the group for its help to Việt Nam’s public healthcare system over the past 20 years, particularly via official development assistance (ODA) loans from the Austrian government to modernise hospitals in Việt Nam.
Wastler said Vamed will continue to work with Vietnamese ministries and departments to seek more financial and equipment aid for Việt Nam.
At his meeting with leaders of the Europe-ASEAN Business Alliance (EABA), Phúc lauded the EABA’s role in connecting European and Southeast Asian businesses, especially in providing consultation and assistance to European enterprises in working with Southeast Asian counterparts.
During his reception for leaders of the Netherlands-Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce (NVCC), Phúc recognised the role of the NVCC in supporting co-operation between Vietnamese and Dutch companies.
He proposed the NVCC along with the Netherlands’ business community push the signing and implementation of the Việt Nam-EU free trade agreement as it will strongly impact the two countries’ trade relations.
On the same day, PM Phúc cut the ribbon to inaugurate new headquarters of the Vietnamese embassy in The Hague, the Netherlands. — VNS