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  Foreign Investment

New opportunities for investors

Vietnam is determined to provide a stable and consistent investment environment for domestic and foreign investors, enabling them to feel safe when investing for a long term in Vietnam. It also pledged to facilitate foreign investment in law, real estate, banking, aviation, telecommunications, insurance, auditing, tax consultancy, stock market and trading services.

All were affirmed by Prime Minister Phan Van Khai at the "Investing in Vietnam: Insights, Strategies and Prospects" Conference, which was co-organized in Hanoi by the Keppel Corporation and Temasek Holdings (Singapore), Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

To prove the Vietnamese Government's determination, Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc said that Vietnam was doing its utmost to create an open and clear legal framework in investment, grant licences to important projects and carry out effectively 44 basic solution groups for foreign investment. It would also establish a single price system in electricity, aviation, telecommunications and services by the end of 2005.

Deputy Minister of Finance Le Thi Bang Tam cited some persuasive examples, such as reduction of the value added tax (VAT) from 20% down to 5% and 10%, possibility of revoking the highest rate for income tax, clearing quickly customs procedures within half a day, possibly one or two hours, an improvement from one to three days.

As estimated by foreign investors, with advantages of stable political situation, high economic growth rate, high literacy rate, a young labour market accounting for 60% of the total population, together with skillful and industrious workers, Vietnam became the most attracting place for investors in the region. Raymond Lim, Singapore's Acting Second Minister for Finance and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, asserted that Vietnam was moving into the market economy. Charly Madan, General Director of Citigroup in Vietnam, said that in terms of priorities for investment, Vietnam was not inferior to any country. Moreover, there was no country safer than Vietnam for both investors and their families.

However, disadvantages for investment in Vietnam were also clearly pointed out, such as cumbersome administrative procedures and inconsistent policies. According to Susan Adams, Chief Representative of IMF in Vietnam, these were reasons causing the investors' hesitancy in investing in Vietnam.

It should be affirmed that foreign investment in Vietnam proves its effectiveness and plays a more important role in the national economy. In the first five months of the year, the total turnover of this sector reached USD 6.7 billion (excluding that from oil and gas), increasing 28.8% over the same period last year, and the total implemented capital increased USD 1.1 billion. Jobs were provided to 10,000 people, increasing the total workers in this sector to 690,000, an increase of 1.9% over the same period last year.

VNS - (01/09/2004)

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