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Spain ready to invest more in VN   2010-11-25 - VNS

Viet Nam expects to attract further investment from Spain in energy sector as well as in infrastructure projects that require a large amount of capital, according to an official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Nguyen Thi Bich Van, deputy head of the ministry's Foreign Investment Agency, said investment capital for infrastructure and energy development in Viet Nam accounted for one-third of its GDP.

Speaking at the Viet Nam-Spain Investment and Business Co-operation Forum held on Tuesday in HCM City, Van noted that capital for those sectors in the next five years would be around US$250 billion, with infrastructure accounting for $25billion.

Viet Nam and Spain have signed several bilateral agreements that will advance trade and investment, specifically the co-financing of the Metro Line No 5 in Viet Nam.

Hi-tech, support industries, infrastructure and human resource development are other areas where the two countries will work together.

Agricultural processing, the industry with a large export ratio, and the environmental and social security sectors are included as well.

Under Decree No 108 issued last year, the Government encourages investment in the forms of BOT, BTO and BT which applies to all investors.

Incentives, support and secure investments are offered to investors, such as tax exemptions and reductions in corporate income tax, land rental and imported equipment that is part of fixed assets.

"Viet Nam is one of the 15 most attractive countries for foreign investors because of several factors, including speed of market development, integration into regional markets, cheap labour and investment incentives," Van said.

Bilateral trade turnover between the two countries was $1.1 billion last year, and Spain is the seventh largest exporter of Viet Nam.

As of October, Spain ranked 58th out of 93 foreign investors in Viet Nam, with 17 projects totalling a registered capital of more than $21 million.

The Spanish Ambassador to Viet Nam, Fernando Curcio, said that with a high GDP growth rate of more than 6 per cent during the economic crisis, Viet Nam was one of the countries that had attracted Spanish investors' attention and trust.

Tu Minh Thien, director of the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), said the export turnover had increased by 30 per cent annually.

Of the EU countries, Spain is the main import market for Vietnamese catfish and is a major market for wood and handicraft products.

Vietnamese exports to Spain include seafood, coffee, textiles, shoes, electronic products, cashew, rubber and porcelain products, while it imports machines, chemicals, steel and medicine.

In the near future, the ITPC will focus on providing more information on trade, investment and tourism through organising seminars and cultural weeks in HCM City, Barcelona and Seville.

Business delegations will be organised frequently to survey the two countries' markets and exchange experiences on technology and seek partners.

Fernando Salazar, deputy chairman of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade, said that HCM City was among the most dynamic cities in Asia.

"Viet Nam is quickly becoming a key player in the region; and HCM City and the country will not cease in their efforts to become a highly industrialised, prosperous and modern economy."

ASEAN-member countries, of which Viet Nam is one, are also signing more trade agreements, which will further enhance investment activity.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Viet Nam is expected to post the highest average growth rate, 7.1 per cent, among the six largest ASEAN economies in the 2011-15 period.

Spain is one of the world's three largest producers of wind energy, together with Germany and the US.

It is also the world's main transportation developer, with six Spanish companies among the top 10 in the world. Their projects include the subway systems of Washington DC and Mexico City, as well as the Sydney, Stockholm and Orlando airports.

"Vietnamese and Spanish companies need to take advantage of the current opportunities that offer our markets and to profit from all the agreements and support mechanisms set up by both governments," Salazar said.

Twenty-six Spanish companies and 150 Vietnamese companies participated in the forum.

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