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ASEAN, S.Korea seek to boost trade, investment

Update: December, 12/2014 - 08:27
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivers his speech at the 2014 ASEAN-Republic of Korea CEO Summit yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam

BUSAN (VNS) — Prime Minister Dung said Viet Nam's legal and business environments will see fundamental changes, including more favourable and competitive conditions for investment opportunities with foreign businesses.

Dung made the statement while addressing a South Korea-ASEAN CEO Summit held yesterday in Busan, South Korea.

Participants analysed challenges and opportunities each country faced, as well as the region as a whole, and sought to accelerate economic, trade and investment between ASEAN member countries and South Korea.

Reviewing Viet Nam's socio-economic development over nearly 30 years, Dung said the country has always paid attention to ensuring social welfare and protecting the environment. It became a middle-income country in 2010 and reached a per capita GDP of US$2,000 in 2014.

During the global economic downturn, the Government's efforts and the business community's support have enabled the country to maintain economic stability, rein in inflation, bring economic growth up to 5.6 per cent a year, post an export growth rate of 18 per cent a year and raise its foreign currency reserves.

In 2014, Viet Nam's economy continued to recover, achieving an estimated growth rate of 6 per cent. Over 100 countries and territories have invested in 17,000 projects in the country worth around $250 billion. More than 100 economic groups have set foot in Viet Nam.

To improve the country's investment environment, the Vietnamese government and localities have regularly conversed with investors seeking to remove difficulties and obstacles facing them, Dung said.

The National Assembly has recently passed the laws on investment that seek to offer simpler administrative procedures, as well as more transparent, favourable conditions for businesses, he said.

Business meet

Dung also held talks with leading RoK groups that are active in Viet Nam, including Doosan, CJ, Teakwang, Lotte, Posco and Samsung.

While Doosan is keen on expanding its power turbine factories, Posco and Teakwang are interested in building major thermal power plants and steel refineries in Viet Nam. Samsung also pledged to complete a smartphone manufacturing complex in Thai Nguyen Province in mid-2015 and create jobs for some 100,000 workers in the country.

Dung welcomed these proposals, saying that once the bilateral FTA was signed and enforced, RoK businesses would have more opportunities to expand their operations and reap success, and committed to providing RoK projects with the best possible conditions.

The leader also said he hoped RoK firms would apply advanced and environmentally friendly technologies, develop support industries and export Vietnamese goods to the RoK, while providing intensive training and better working and living conditions for local labourers.

Enhancing efficiency

Regarding the national economy, Dung said the Government had concentrated on public investment, banking systems and State-owned enterprises, along with enhancing efficiency and competitiveness.

The country's accelerated equitisation of State-owned enterprises – especially economic groups, corporations and big banks – will bring more business opportunities to the private sector and foreign investors, he said.

Viet Nam needs more parties to invest in its infrastructure development projects, mainly in fields such as power, renewable energy, urban transportation, and sea and air transportation, he said.

In addition to the eight bilateral free trade agreements Viet Nam has signed, the country is negotiating for a Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as other new-generation free trade deals, Dung said.

The fresh conclusion of a free trade agreement with South Korea is expected to open up new collaboration prospects for business circles in the two countries, he said.

Viet Nam can serve as a gateway for South Korean investors seeing to enter other regional markets, he said, vowing that the Vietnamese Government and localities will work together to facilitate stable, long-term foreign investor operations in Viet Nam.

Dung said Viet Nam would become an important economic hub, linking 55 partners together, including 15 G-20 members. — VNS

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