Vietnam to lift restrictions on foreign investors: PM

Tuesday, 2017-07-11 04:51:28
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PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the forum. Photo: VGP
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NDO/VNA – Vietnam will lift restrictions in areas including services, telecommunications, financing and banking, among others, facilitating foreign investors’ engagement and raising their ownership stakes in domestic firms, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

>>> Vietnamese PM hosts international business leaders in Netherlands

Addressing the Vietnam-Netherlands Business Forum, titled “Towards a Sustainable Future” in the Hague on July 10, PM Phuc told the 450 participating enterprises, including nearly 300 from the host country, that “you can become strategic shareholders of many Vietnamese State-owned enterprises that are about to sell shares on the market”.

He informed the businesses that Vietnam has signed 12 free trade agreements and will soon sign the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) with the European Union.

He added that in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report, the country climbed up to 82nd position from 91st last year, while the World Economic Forum ranked Vietnam 60th out of 138 countries in terms of competitiveness. Vietnam expects to achieve 6.7% GDP growth this year, up from 6.1% last year.

PM Phuc said that Vietnam encourages Dutch enterprises to increase their investment, therefore helping Vietnam to enhance its processing capability and increase its status in the global value chain.

Mentioning the increasing impacts of climate change in Vietnam, PM Phuc said the country hopes the Netherlands’ private sector will help the Southeast Asian nation to tackle the challenge.

“This is a huge opportunity for the Netherlands’ enterprises, particularly small and medium sized ones,” he said.

“If we can grasp the opportunity and uphold the diplomatic advantages, especially in the context of the signing of the EVFTA, the Netherlands and Vietnam will surely reap more than the current achievements and forge a deep and comprehensive economic connection between ASEAN and EU.”

He said that through Vietnam, Netherlands’ investors could approach the market of 700 million in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Recalling that Dutch merchants had arrived in Quang Nam province’s Hoi An Port, as early as the 17th century, PM Phuc highlighted that the Netherlands is one of Vietnam’s large trade partners and markets in Europe, with two-way trade currently exceeding US$7 billion.

By the end of March, the Netherlands’ investment in Vietnam reached US$7.65 billion, leading all European countries.

On the occasion, PM Phuc witnessed the signing of deals among businesses from both sides, worth some US$700 million.

Speaking at the business forum, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands, Lodewijck Asscher said the signing of the agreements among businesses is significant but the more important target is how to bring benefit to the people of both sides.

With 90 million people, Vietnam is a huge market, Asscher said.

The EU passing the EVFTA will create impetus for cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, including the Netherlands, he said.

“The Netherlands is ready to share with Vietnam its experiences in the construction of irrigation projects and smart cities, farm production, management of food safety and climate change response,” Deputy PM Asscher said.

Michael van Straalen, acting chairman of Royal Association of MKB-Nederland, the largest entrepreneurial organisation in the Netherlands, said he hopes that the forum would be an opportunity for enhanced cooperation between the Governments and enterprises of both countries.

On the same day, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended a business roundtable meeting, focusing on issues related to smart and airport city development.

Representatives from the Netherlands shared their experience in building smart and airport cities and made recommendations on developing airports in Vietnam, while noting that they want to cooperate with Vietnam in this field.

Vietnam is studying to build smart cities and environmentally-friendly airport cities, Phuc said, adding that the country hopes to receive the Netherlands’ support in the work.