Last updated: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Hot Issues Debated at Vietnam Business ForumPosted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
How to facilitate business production and build up foreign investors’ trust in the context of the economic slowdown was discussed at Vietnam Business Forum 2012 held in Hanoi on May 29, co-chaired by Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the European Chamber of Commerce (Eurocham) in Vietnam.
Addressing the event, which was organized ahead of the mid-year meeting of the Consultative Group (CG) for Vietnam, Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI) Bui Quang Vinh and World Bank (WB) country Director Victoria Kwakwa said in response to Vietnam’s macro-economic instability, the Vietnamese Government has issued Resolution 11, focusing on curbing inflation, stabilizing the macro-economy, and ensuring social welfare.
With assistance from international organizations and the business community, the country has reaped initial achievements, they said, adding that the macro-economy has been stabilized and inflation has slowed down despite the remaining challenges.
Vinh said Vietnam attaches importance to stabilizing the macro-economy, promoting sustainability, and protecting ecology and the environment.
The forum is a channel for dialogue between Vietnam and the domestic and international business circles, which aims to improve business conditions and create a favourable investment environment to encourage the development of the private sector and contribute to sustainable development in the country.
Foreign investors confident in Vietnam’s environment
Preben Hjortlund, Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce (Eurocham) in Vietnam, is confident that the Vietnamese Government will take effective measures to stabilize the macro-economy in the short run.
Vietnam should also make greater effort to attract more foreign investment, he said.
Eurocham said it is necessary for the Southeast Asian nation to speed up economic, financial, and educational reforms to move towards a model of sustainable economic development.
It said the Government should remove restrictions on accessing the market, which will affect trade liberalisation; effectively deal with bureaucracy and corruption; ease administrative burdens; and protect intellectual property by strictly treating violations, in order to attract more foreign investment.
Mark Gillin, Vice Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Vietnam, said he is delighted with the fruitful cooperation between AmCham and the Vietnamese Government in boosting two-way trade, which increased sharply from US$1.5 billion in 2001 to more than US$22 billion in 2011.
Regarding the restructuring of State-owned enterprises and amendments to the Labour Code, he said transparency is an important factor in attracting foreign investment.
Business community expectations
Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said the business community appreciates the solutions in Government Resolution 13 for easing difficulties against production and supporting the market, saying it also facilitates business development.
Representatives of businesses said they hope that the Government will consider expanding the scope of the reduction and deferment of value-added tax payments to stimulate consumption.
They also hoped the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) will continue cutting interest rates and speeding up the restructuring of the commercial banking system to reduce bad debts and improve liquidity to lay a firm foundation for removing ceiling interest rates in the future.
The SBV should also create favourable conditions for commercial banks to restructure their clients’ debts to relieve the burden of high interest rate for businesses and reduce bad debts for commercial banks.
In the long run, VCCI Chairman Loc suggested the government should have clear orientations and commitments for an economic restructuring program based on Vietnam’s competitive advantages.
Short-term measures to stabilise the economic situation should be associated with a medium- and long-term roadmap for economic restructuring in order to reduce risks for both individuals and businesses.
Other discussions at the forum were focused on banking and capital markets, infrastructure, investment, trade, and education.