HCM CITY — Italian firms should develop their business in Viet Nam because of the country's tremendous growth potential, a forum organised with Italian funding heard in HCM City yesterday.
Patrick Gilabert, UNIDO Country Representative, described Viet Nam as one of the best countries for long-term growth with an expected (real per capita) GDP growth rate in 2010 – 50 of 6.4 per cent.
He told the Enterprise Partnerships for Development Forum: "A high investment rate, high economic growth rate, and large population make the country top the list of nations with the highest growth potential in the 21st century."
Viet Nam's population, which was 89 million in 2010, is expected to rise to 112 million in 2050. Its working age population is expected to grow until around 2035.
Tran Dinh Thien, director of the Viet Nam Institute of Economics, admitted to executives from more than 40 Italian firms, who are here for the first time to study investment and market opportunities, that Viet Nam was still facing many challenges.
Its first quarter GDP growth was just 4 per cent and the projected growth for the next was 4.5 per cent.
Businesses were in serious decline, the number of those bankrupt or closed had increased sharply, most firms had dramatically cut production.
But the ongoing economic restructure would enable effective integration with the world economy.
The country had advantages like the availability of natural resources, long coastline, and a young and dynamic labour force.
It had massive potential in tourism, especially at the high-end.
Lorenzo Angeloni, the Italian ambassador to Viet Nam, said Italian businesses could share their experience with their Vietnamese counterparts, and co-operation with them would help Vietnamese firms get access to new technologies and Italian brand names.
As the forum goes on through Saturday, delegates will hear about Viet Nam's customs regulations, tariffs, and logistics issues.
The visitors will go to several garment and textile, footwear, and furniture factories, and meet with potential partners at business-to-business sessions.
The forum is being organised within the framework of the "SME Cluster Development" co-operation project funded by Italy and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Confederation of Italian Industries, and the Italian Trade Commission.
The project is aimed at supporting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Viet Nam and the internationalisation of Italian SMEs through the promotion of trade, production, and technical co-operation agreements between firms from the two countries.
It has a specific focus on disseminating the experiences and best practices of Italian "industrial districts" in Viet Nam and on promoting institutional agreements among Italian and Vietnamese industry associations, educational institutions, technical and service centres.
Technical assistance has been provided through consultancy by experienced international professionals to around 80 Vietnamese companies in the sectors of textile and clothing, footwear and leather products, and furniture.
The comprehensive knowledge acquired by companies and sector institutions through this process is now available to support and guide the selection of potential partnerships between firms from the two countries. — VNS