Workers at a Samsung factory in northern Bac Ninh Province. — VNA Photo
Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been a major driving force behind Viet Nam’s national development, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said recently.

In the last three decades, the country has attracted more than US$370 billion in FDI with $38 billion registered in 2019, the highest figure in the last 10 years and up 7.2 per cent over the previous year.

Foreign-invested businesses have played a big part in boosting Viet Nam’s GDP and the country is among the fastest-growing in the world.

Foreign investment has helped to shape the country’s modernisation, lifting Viet Nam’s spearhead industries like telecommunication, IT, oil and petrol, electronics, textile and footwear, and food processing.

By the end of last year, the foreign-invested sector accounted for 25 per cent of the Viet Nam’s total social investment and more than 70 per cent of its export value. In addition, it has created more than 3.5 million direct jobs and 5 million indirect jobs.

The sector has helped Viet Nam establish its position as an important part of the international supply chain, speed up economic restructuring and improve on productivity and the ability to compete in global commerce.

Window of opportunity

Despite 2020 being a gloomy year for the world’s economy, Viet Nam has remained a favourite investment destination.

During the first eight months of 2020, the country reported $19.54 billion in foreign investment. Nearly 1,800 new projects worth a total of more than $9.7 billion were licensed, a 7 per cent increase over the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

Do Nhat Hoang, head of the MPI’s foreign investment department, said the figure was an encouraging sign amid the hard-hit global economy and a reflection of the confidence foreign investors have in Viet Nam as a fast-growing economy. This is due in no small part to the Government’s excellent effort to contain and fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economists said the country has been given a unique opportunity to boost its development and recommended the Government take quick and decisive steps to fast-track the economy towards recovery.

Nguyen Mai, chairman of Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, said the country must improve the environment for investment and business, provide support to enterprises and approach international corporations, especially those who are strong in technology and management capacity from the US, the EU and Japan, for investment opportunities.

In response, in June Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc formed a task force to facilitate foreign co-operation and investment, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh.

The task force’s mission is to identify limitations and shortcomings in the country’s investment laws and regulations and to support potential foreign investors. It will also help the Government select projects that are technologically advanced and beneficial to the preservation of the natural environment.

With the recent signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), economists said there is huge potential for investment and business to be realised, granting Viet Nam access to the EU’s large market and highly advanced technologies.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been a major driving force behind Viet Nam’s national development, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said recently.