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VN, US entrepreneurs, officials discuss trade

Update: June, 08/2017 - 08:00
A panel discussion at the Meet the USA 2017 seminar held in HCM City on June 7. — VNS Photo Xuân Hương
Viet Nam News

HCM CITYThere is huge opportunity for Việt Nam and the US to further boost investment and trade ties in many sectors, a seminar heard in HCM City on Wednesday.

Trần Đình Thiên, general director of the Việt Nam Institute of Economics, told "Meet the USA" that the US is among Việt Nam’s largest trading partners and investors.

Bilateral trade increased from US$1 billion 17 years ago to more than $46 billion last year.

The US ranks ninth among 119 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam, with investments of around $12 billion, but the amount is modest compared to the potential, he said.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hà Kim Ngọc said during the US visit by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, the two sides pledged to promote economic ties.

The two economies are complementary rather than competing, and so co-operation would result in a win-win situation, he said.

Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said, “Việt Nam, particularly HCM City, wants advanced technologies in manufacturing, environment and services from the US.”  

Smart city development, environment, agriculture, and clean energy are among the sectors in Việt Nam offering great incentives to investors, he said.

Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, the city Party Secretary, Việt Nam wants to co-operate with the US in the fourth industrial revolution.

Việt Nam is currently in the third, he said.

US firms can utilise the low labour costs in Việt Nam – of just $3 per hour compared to $30 in the US – he said.

Many Korean and Japanese businesses have seen this advantage and invested in Việt Nam, Nhân said.

"Investment by South Korean firms now is five time that of US firms," he said.

Fred Burke, managing partner of Baker & McKenzie Vietnam, said even without the TPP investment and trade between the US and Việt Nam would continue to increase.

Việt Nam has done a lot of good things to make its investment environment better, and its robust implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement would reduce its trade costs, making the country competitive as an investment, he said.

“Those are the key drivers for increasing trade and investment with Việt Nam, and US companies are watching that very closely.”

Ted Osius, the US’s ambassador to Việt Nam, said US businesses want to bring innovative technologies to Việt Nam, and to do this they need to develop effective partnerships with provincial governments and leaders.

US companies need confidence and security with respect to their investments here, he said.

This means a level playing field, especially in terms of property rights, and rules of competitions that are clear and well informed, he said.

“US companies also need a platform of modern services and infrastructure which allow them to connect their global trade networks,” he said.

Jonathan Moreno, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam – HCM City, said a lot of US companies do not come to Việt Nam because they worry about transparency, predictability, and infrastructure.

So building a system of trade that is modern, predictable, and transparent where US companies do not have to worry about corruption is needed, he said.

The supporting industry supply chain is not developed here yet, he said 

Agriculture, technology and healthcare (medical devices) are among the sectors with great business opportunities now, he added.

Cao Đức Phát, member of the Central Committee and standing vice chairman of the Central Economic Committee Commission, said Việt Nam would pursue a consistent policy of economic reform and international integration, creating favourable conditions for foreign companies, including those from the US, to do business and invest.

Việt Nam has signed 11 free trade agreements, and so US companies can also take advantage of them when investing in Việt Nam, he said.

Organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the US consulate general and AmCham Vietnam, the seminar - a sideline event of APEC 2017 - attracted about 350 delegates, including government officials, local leaders, and Vietnamese and US business executives. — VNS






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