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PM addresses GMS6 Business Summit

Released at: 13:56, 31/03/2018

PM addresses GMS6 Business Summit

Photo: Ngoc Lan

Positives in Vietnam's economy and business and investment environment highlighted in Prime Minister's address.

by Ngoc Lan

Within the framework of the GMS6 Summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc presented a speech at the GMS6 Business Summit, with the theme “Looking for New Economic Growth Drivers”, on March 30.

The Prime Minister pointed out that, in 2017, Vietnam continued to maintain its high economic growth - the highest in Asia - and controlled inflation at 3.5 per cent. Interest rates and exchange rates were stable, trade turnover reached a record $425 billion, and foreign reserves exceeded $60 billion.

There are about 25,000 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects being implemented in the country, with total registered investment capital in excess of $320 billion. The VN-Index rose 41 per cent last year, ranking it among the world’s top three in terms of growth. According to the World Bank (WB), Vietnam’s Ease of Doing Business Index (DB) jumped 14 places last year to 68th among 190 economies.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) placed Vietnam’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) at 55th out of 137 countries; five places higher than the previous report. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), meanwhile, ranked Vietnam’s Global Innovation Index (GII) at 47th out of 127 countries; 12 places higher than previously. Such achievements express the trust and enthusiasm of investors and entrepreneurs toward the government’s efforts at reform and innovation over recent years.

“They also motivate us to confidently proceed with further reforms,” Prime Minister Phuc said.

Firstly, Vietnam is determined to build an enabling, action-oriented government in the service of its people and businesses. The State does not take over the work of the market and businesses, and instead focuses on creating a favorable environment for development, improving institutional and legal frameworks and enhancing management capacity in order to bring about equal opportunities for all economic sectors.

The government pays attention to the training and development of human resources and to infrastructure development, and only considers investing in important areas that have proven difficult for private enterprises to invest in.

Secondly, it will continue with efforts to improve the business environment. It aims to create a facilitative and competitive business environment, be among ASEAN’s leading countries, and meet the OECD’s high standards. It has worked to meet commitments on protecting intellectual property and promotes innovative ideas and inventions from startups.

It will continue to boost tax policy reforms and the corporate tax rate will be cut to 15-17 per cent. Vietnam has also put in place many preferential regulations for investment in advanced technology, support industries, and high-tech organic agriculture, and other areas that generate jobs.

Thirdly, it will further promote active international integration in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and CLV (Cambodia - Laos - Vietnam). From 2018 to 2019, it will focus on the signing and ratification of two new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs): the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA), and at the same time effectively implement ten FTAs currently in effect and accelerate negotiations over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other agreements. With the CPTPP and EVFTA coming into effect, Vietnam will have highly preferential, free trade relations with nearly 40 developed countries. These are matters international investors should take into account when making investment decisions.

Fourthly, as one of three pillars of the GMS, the government currently prioritizes investing and attracting investment in vital transport routes. In addition to already-funded expressways such as Ho Chi Minh City - Can Tho - Ca Mau, Hanoi - Hai Phong, Hanoi - Lao Cai (connecting to Kunming, China), and Hanoi - Lang Son (connecting to Nanjing, China), it is also working to connect the “two corridors, one economic belt” framework with the Belt and Road Initiative. Vietnam is also actively promoting investment in transport infrastructure on the East-West, North-South, and Southern economic corridors.

Furthermore, the government commits to implementing initiatives and is currently translating them into reality through prioritizing investment in connectivity infrastructure to support border trade, investment, tourism, agriculture, and economics, as well as other forms of cross-border economic cooperation. It also emphasizes investing in the development of human resources, regarding compatible skills and capacities. All are carried out with a view to achieving inclusive and sustainable development.

“Rapid and sustainable development must remain the top priority, as this is the expectation of future generations,” Prime Minister Phuc told the gathering. “Rapid growth must go hand-in-hand with the protection of the ecology and natural resources, and especially the sustainable management and use of the Mekong River’s valuable resources.”

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