Nguyen Van Toan, Foreign Invested Enterprises' Association secretary, talks with Hai Quan (Customs) Newspaper about the intense global integration of Viet Nam's investment and business.
How has the investment and business environment improved since late last year?
It has been dramatically improved through adjustment of the Investment Law and Enterprise Law. The adjustment is to make the business environment adjust to the country's international integration process.
In my opinion, the Government is determined to reform the institutional system. The policies are available, but the important thing is how to realise them effectively.
Do you think the current investment and business environment of Viet Nam is ready for international integration?
As of late last year, Viet Nam had signed eight free trade agreements (FTAs). This year, it plans to sign more agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Viet Nam-European Union Agreement.
This year marks 20 years of international integration and continues to sign more FTAs. The country has well prepared for further integration. It means the investment and business environment must be considerably improved.
However, the improvement should be further strengthened so as to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) sources, especially investment into small-and medium-scaled enterprises (SMEs).
What should the Government and businesses do to further improve the investment and business environment?
As I mentioned above, policies and legal institutions have been set up, but the essential thing is how to realise the policies effectively.
One of the most vital factors in international integration process is transparency. FDI enterprises, especially European and US enterprises, attach special importance to transparency. They always comply with their rules, business customs and international rules. The enterprises never accept the so-called "under-the-table money" in doing business.
Viet Nam should quickly change the situation. It is vital for integration.
Corruption and lack of transparency have been a big concern in the business community for years. But many feel it is not easy to change the reality. What is your point of view?
Viet Nam wants a transparent society. It is necessary to reform several things, including how salaries and subsidies are paid. Low salaries are not the only reasons for corruption.
We should learn from Singapore in corruption prevention and control. In that country, people cannot, do not want and dare not get involved in corruption. First, they do not seek corruption because they have good salaries. Second, corruption is difficult in a closely supervised nation where punishment is strict.
I think Singapore's attitudes about corruption control are also suitable for Viet Nam. — VNS