Halal certificates are handed over to enterprises in Cần Thơ at an investment conference held in the city on Tuesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Liêm
HCM CITY — Some 27 firms from Singapore and Malaysia on Tuesday participated in a conference in Cần Thơ City to explore investment and cooperation opportunities with firms in the (Cửu Long) Mekong Delta region, according to Cần Thơ Promotion Agency (CPA).
Organised by CPA under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the meeting introduced local products and highlighted the region’s potential for investment.
The meeting was held to improve business connections, develop the hi-tech agricultural sector, and boost the region’s key farm exports such as rice, seafood and canned fruit.
Speaking at the event, Dato William Ng, managing director of Business Media International and head of the Malaysian delegation, spoke highly of Cần Thơ as the most promising locality with the best and most abundant workforce in the southwestern region.
Its other advantages include convenient transportation infrastructure, a gateway to the Lower Mekong River basin, and an important inter-regional and international transportation hub, he said.
Cần Thơ was also praised for its investment and development policies in the fields of education, health, tourism, biotechnology, information technology and logistics services, among others.
Chiew Guan Koay, managing director at Koay Kah Seng Engineering Sdn Bhd (Malaysia), said that Malaysian businesses were interested in real estate, energy and trade in Cần Thơ.
The engineering group plans to invest in wind, thermoelectric and solar power plants in Cần Thơ, making it the first locality in the region to use renewable energy, he said.
Koay also proposed development of public facilities in the city that apply advanced technology, especially in water and wastewater treatment, and development of high-tech industrial parks in Cần Thơ, aiming to make it a smart city.
Leong Yi Whye, director of Malaysia’s EZ Flex Consulting Company, said that consultation in market access, capital mobilisation and listing on foreign stock bourses could be provided to local companies.
To facilitate Malaysian investment in Cần Thơ, domestic law offices would be consulted, he added.
Ramlan Osman, business director at Việt Nam Halal Company, introduced the Halal certificate for food used by Muslims at the event.
Osman said Halal-certified products do not contain substances such as pork, dog meat or beer, and must be manufactured according to Halal standards.
For countries with a large number of Muslim communities such as Malaysia and Singapore, products that are not Halal-certified may face the risk of import prohibition.
Osman said that businesses should be careful in production, storage and transportation of products to meet the needs of Muslim markets.
In a related issue, the Việt Nam - Malaysia Centre of Halal, which opened in Cần Thơ on the same day, issues Halal certification for businesses wanting to export goods to Islamic countries.
The launch of the centre, the first of its kind in the region, followed an agreement signed between the city’s NHONHO Technology Company and RSD Management Solution, an international risk management, consulting, training and research firm from Malaysia.
Halal refers to any action or behaviour that is permissible in Islam, and requires animals to be slaughtered in a particular way after prayer.
According to the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the global Halal industry is forecast to reach US$3.6 trillion by 2021, with food and drink accounting for $2 trillion.
Trương Quang Hoài Nam, vice chairman of Cần Thơ city People’s Committee, said Cần Thơ would create the best conditions to support Singaporean and Malaysian investors.
Cần Thơ had over $2 billion in export revenue in 2018, up 13.14 per cent against the figure seen in 2017. In 2018, it spent $450 million importing goods, up 5.17 per cent year-on-year.
In the first quarter of this year, the city’s export earnings were over $560 million, a rise of 11.86 per cent year-on-year. Its import revenue was $118 million, up 12.86 per cent over the same period last year.
As of May, the city has 82 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with total pledged capital of $719.9 million. These projects are funded by South Korean, Singaporean, Thai, American, German and Japanese investors.
Singaporean firms alone have poured total registered capital of more than $129 million into 10 FDI projects in the city. — VNS