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Competitiveness key to attracting FDI   2009-01-14 - Viet Nam News

Optimum competitiveness to maximise Viet Nam as a destination for foreign investors and limit the damage of the global downturn was the key message delivered at a high-powered economic meeting in Ha Noi yesterday.

Titled the "European Union-Viet Nam Trade Forum: Enhancing Competitiveness," the meeting was designed to share perspectives about trade and create conditions for dialogue to enhance Viet Nam’s regional competitiveness.

Its participants agreed that Viet Nam should fully adhere to its international commitments despite the daunting difficulties and challenges the country could face in 2009.

Doing so would ensure the confidence of foreign investors and solidify Viet Nam’s international relationship, especially with the EU.

Viet Nam needed creative measures to make it more attractive to foreign investors, said EuroCham Chairman Alain Cany when opening the forum.

More investment would mitigate the influence of the global economic downturn and help Viet Nam meet this year’s growth targets.

The EuroCham chairman said the Vietnamese Government had already devised policies and made daring changes to limit the damage done to the domestic economy from the global economic turmoil.

But bold policies and decisions to maximise its competitiveness and ensure it remained a popular destination for foreign investors were still needed.

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The chairman was reinforcing the EuroCham view that investor confidence in Viet Nam was underlined throughout last year through strong portfolio investment and record foreign direct investment.

But with exports slowing, prices for key commodities falling and the domestic market sentiment still fragile, Viet Nam needed to act creatively to maximise its attraction as a destination for foreign investment.

Figures showed that foreign investment had declined, despite 2008’s record FDI of US$60 billion, and exports slowed significantly toward the end of the year, he explained.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Le Danh Vinh told the forum that promoting a more competitive national economy was a key component of Doi Moi (renewal).

The effort had to be made a priority as part of building the national economy and enhancing global integration – objectives Viet Nam had pursued throughout the past 20 years.

"Viet Nam has been consistent and successful in transforming into a market economy and has implemented step-by-step policies to enhance competitiveness," he said.

The result had been the manifestation of a healthy, competitive environment.

An example of the effort had been the National Assembly’s Competitive Law 2005 that was highly appreciated for its modernity and comprehensive reflection of the basic rules of competition.

The Deputy Minister conceded that Viet Nam’s international competitive ranking - as judged by such organisations as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum - had been low.

But new Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry surveys and its yearly Provincial Competitive Index showed that Viet Nam had undergone remarkable development in becoming competitive.

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