Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Vietnamese companies should further invest in and trade with ASEAN member countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, a forum heard in HCM City on Thursday.
Võ Tân Thành, vice president of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), told the Southeast Asia Outbound Investment Forum, “Thailand is Việt Nam’s largest trading partner among ASEAN countries, with bilateral trade reaching over US$17.5 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 15 per cent.
“Việt Nam’s trade with Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar also grew last year.”
Việt Nam had a trade deficit with Thailand because it imported a lot of machinery and equipment, raw materials for domestic production and automobiles, he said.
In 2018, Thailand was the biggest source of automobiles for Việt Nam, he added.
Việt Nam’s exports to these markets include mobile phones and components, computers, electronic products and components, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, vehicles and spare parts, garment and textile products, crude oil, and gasoline.
As of last year, Thailand was the ninth largest investor in Việt Nam out of 130 countries and territories with $10.5 billion in 528 projects.
Laos ranked 52nd with $70 million, Cambodia was 56th with over $64 million and Myanmar, 99th with one project worth $800,000.
Vietnamese companies have invested in all these countries, including nearly $26 million in Thailand.
They have invested over $3 billion in Cambodia to make the country among the five largest foreign investors in there.
Việt Nam was the seventh largest foreign investor in Myanmar with nearly $2 billion in 70 projects.
Investment and trade ties between Việt Nam and these countries remain short of their potential and they are making efforts to set this right.
Việt Nam and Thailand for instance have set a target of increasing their trade to $20 billion by 2020, while Việt Nam and Laos target 10 per cent growth in trade this year.
To provide local companies seeking to expand operations in Southeast Asia with more information about these markets, VCCI in collaboration with Tilleke & Gibbins, a leading Southeast Asian law firm, held the first Southeast Asia Outbound Investment Forum, Thành said.
Thomas Treutler, partner and managing director of Tilleke & Gibbins (Việt Nam), said many foreign investors are coming to Việt Nam because of the good quality of its products and services, skill of its workforce and the competence of its companies.
So there is no reason why these companies cannot go abroad and compete successfully there, he said.
“Many Vietnamese companies have succeeded overseas and that can be replicated further.”
He said companies should pay more attention to protecting their brands abroad.
Tilleke & Gibbins’ lawyers from its Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand offices spoke to attendees about market entry in their respective jurisdictions, the process and legal framework for doing business there and the market opportunities and challenges in each country. — VNS