Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (middle) at the opening ceremony of Vietnamese airline Vietjet's new routes to Seoul. — VNA Photo
SEOUL — Việt Nam would continue to support foreign enterprises, including Korean companies, to invest and set up operations in the country, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc at a Korea-Việt Nam business forum held on Thursday in Seoul.
He told 700 companies and investors at the forum that Vietnamese agencies were ready to provide assistance to foreign companies and investors. More than 1,000 South Korean investment projects in Việt Nam were the result of tireless efforts made by both sides to work together for a common goal.
The Vietnamese leader called for Korean enterprises to invest in Việt Nam’s processing and manufacturing sector, auxiliary industry, renewable energy and fintech, as well as in industries that Korean firms held competitive advantages such as logistics and shipbuilding.
In addition, he urged the two sides to strengthen co-operation in the fields of education and healthcare with the objective of building state-of-the-art medical facilities in Việt Nam.
The PM asked Korea to open its market even more for Vietnamese products to help realise a goal to increase two-way trade to US$100 billion in 2020.
During the forum, both sides signed 33 memoranda of understanding for projects worth nearly $20 billion, bringing Korean investment in Việt Nam close to $80 billion to date from current $67 billion.
Meanwhile, Deputy PM and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki stressed the significance of the forum, while saying that Korean investment in Việt Nam has expanded over the years, making the RoK the biggest foreign investor of the country with a rise of 37 per cent each year. Việt Nam is also the biggest investment recipient among ASEAN countries.
He suggested that Korean firms grasp opportunities to invest in Việt Nam as the two countries’ relationship is on a flourishing period.
With their strengths, Korean businesses have great cooperation and investment chances in various areas such as construction, infrastructure development, high technology and insurance, while helping Việt Nam promote the potential of the private sector, developing start-ups, taking advantages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he asserted.
Hong also expressed his hope that the two governments will work more closely together to deal with difficulties hindering bilateral partnership amidst the changing world situation and trade tensions.
He said he expects the forum will open up new investment opportunities for both sides in the future.
Hong said PM Phúc’s visit strengthened two-way co-operation between the two governments and businesses, and signalled the importance of the South Korea-Việt Nam relationship.
Hong urged South Korean companies to take advantage of close ties to invest in Việt Nam, namely in infrastructure development, start-ups and technologies.
Chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) Huh Chang-soo said Việt Nam had proven to be a fast-growing and stable economy with huge potential for development. Since the establishment of the two countries’ diplomatic ties, two-way trade between Việt Nam and South Korea had increased more than a hundredfold.
There were over 5,000 South Korean companies operating in Việt Nam, employing more than a million workers, he said.
In the future, the FKI would coordinate with a number of training facilities in Việt Nam in training and sharing the country’s successful stories.
PM Phúc said people-to-people and cultural exchanges were also important parts of the bilateral relationship. Similarities in culture, value and history between the two peoples were the foundation for even greater co-operation.
He said despite ongoing tensions threatening global commerce, Việt Nam had maintained robust economic development with GDP growth in 2018 at 6.8 per cent, with inflation stable at 3.5 per cent. Such factors had made the Vietnamese currency one of the most stable in Asia and on the global exchange market.
Coupled with improved national competitiveness – Việt Nam moved up 10 spots to rank 67 in the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report – and an exploding scene of start-ups, Việt Nam had become one of the world’s top destinations for global investors.
The country was also part of numerous trade deals such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and the pending Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Việt Nam and its fast-expanding middle-class and a population of 100 million with an internet penetration rate of 67 per cent had great potential to develop the digital economy and take full advantage of the coming industrial revolution.
At the forum, Vietnamese budget airlines Vietjet unveiled plans to operate direct flights between Seoul and major Vietnamese cities including Đà Lạt, Cần Thơ, Nha Trang and Phú Quốc at the forum. Vietjet said starting from January next year, passengers could take flights from Seoul to the southern province of Cần Thơ three times a week, as well as four flights per week to the resort town of Đà Lạt. There would also be more flights from Seoul to resort towns such as Nha Trang and Phú Quốc to meet the increasing demand for air travel.
The same day, the PM held a discussion with leaders of over 20 leading RoK businesses and investors in various fields such as heavy industry, construction, finance, banking, automobiles, and electronics in Seoul as part of his official visit to the RoK.
PM Phúc said South Korean businesses and brands had become widely popular in Việt Nam with a majority of households using at least one South Korean products. Some of South Korea's largest businesses were thriving in Việt Nam such as Samsung, LG, Huyndai, KIA and Lotte.
The South Korean community living in Việt Nam has increased to over 140,000 and is one of the largest to be found in Asian countries. On the other hand, more than 150,000 Vietnamese are working and living in South Korea.
He said the most important advantage South Korean investors could count on when investing in Việt Nam was the fondness and trust Vietnamese people had for South Korean brands. Another major advantage for investors was the many similarities in values and preferences between Vietnamese and Koreans.
He also wished that RoK investors would focus more on the medical sector to become major providers of health care services in the Southeast Asian country. — VNS