(MPI) - This is a message shared by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang at the Vietnam - France Business Seminar jointly organized by the Mouvement des entreprises de France (MEDEF) and the French-Vietnamese Business Council on November 4, 2019, in Paris, France.
The Seminar took place under the co-chairing of Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang and Vice Chairman of the French-Vietnamese Business Council Céline Charpiot-Zapolsky. Attending the Seminar, on the French side, there were representatives of the relevant agencies and more than 50 large French groups and companies, members of the French Business Owners Association (MEDEF) representing all economic sectors in France, such as Total Group, Bouygues Construction, Airbus, Safran, Airliquide, Canal+International, etc. On the Vietnamese side, there were representatives of the ministries, line ministries and localities, representatives of the Vietnamese Embassy in France and a number of enterprises such as Vingroup, Becamex Binh Duong, etc.
The Seminar aimed at connecting Vietnamese government agencies and enterprises and French businesses within the framework of the 6th High-level Vietnam-France Economic Dialogue events. In the meantime, it further tightened the linkage between the two countries in terms of diplomacy, investment, trade, tourism, culture, science, etc.
Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang chaired the seminar. Photo: MPI
Speaking at the seminar, Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang emphasized that the relationship between Vietnam and France was in the best development period since the two countries signed the Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership in 2013.
France is now a place, where more than 300,000 Vietnamese live, study and work, becoming an important bridge that cements the economic and cultural relations of the two countries. The percentage of Vietnamese intellectuals in France is also one of the bright spots in the Vietnamese community in the world. There are currently over 40,000 people with university or postgraduate degrees in many industries and fields, accounting for 12% of the Vietnamese community in France.
Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang said that Vietnam was currently a country that many French businesses were interested in investing and doing business. In 1988, when Vietnam's first Foreign Investment Law came into effect, French enterprises pioneered to overcome US embargo barriers to become the first foreign investors in Vietnam. As of October 20, 2019, France ranked 16/132 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 551 valid projects and total investment of 3.58 billion USD.
French investment focuses mainly on the fields of electricity and energy with 12 projects, attaining total investment capital of 1.14 billion USD (accounting for 31.8% of total foreign investment capital in Vietnam); the next is the processing and manufacturing industry with 129 projects and a total investment of US $999.2 million (accounting for 28% of the total foreign investment capital).
France is one of the three countries (along with the Netherlands and the UK) ranking the top in terms of the capital flows from Europe to Vietnam. Thereby, France’s investment has contributed to the economic growth, creating jobs and ensuring social security in Vietnam. In the same time, Vietnamese enterprises have invested in France with 14 projects, achieving a total investment of 5.82 million USD.
Together with investment activities, the scale of bilateral trade is constantly increasing. In 2008, total import and export turnover was US $1.8 billion. It tripled to US $5,102 billion 10 years later. In the first 9 months of 2019, the total trade turnover of Vietnam - France reached US $4.01 billion, a year-on-year rise of 7.34%, bringing France to be one of Vietnam’s 5 most important trade partners in the European Union (along with Germany, England, the Netherlands and Italy).
Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang provide some information about Vietnam's economic growth in three decades (1986 - 2018), which averaged 6.74%. In particular, the rate was 7.08 % in 2018, estimated to be over 6.8% in 2019, among the top high-growth countries in the region and the world. Vietnam owns a population of more than 96.2 million people, of which over 60% of the labor force is under 35 years old, trained to access new techniques, technologies and trends. The average increase in labor productivity of the whole society in the 2016-2019 period is expected to reach 5.8%/year. Foreign exchange reserves is estimated to obtain about 73 billion USD.
Vietnam is ranked 8th among the best investment destinations in the world in 2019, a movement of 15 places compared to 2018. The World Economic Forum assessed that Vietnam's competitiveness improved dramatically over all 3 pillars: institution, infrastructure and skills, ranked 67/141 countries and territories, moving up by 10 places compared to 2018. National credit rating is upgraded from BB- to BB with the "positive" prospect. The innovation index moves up 12 rankings as rated by the Global Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
In the context of global trade’s slow growth, Vietnam's exports has made good growth rate, reaching over 190 billion USD, a rise of 8.2%. Important economic indicators have reached and exceeded targets. In July 2019, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecast that Vietnam's economy would have the fastest growth rate in the ASEAN region in 2019 and remain stable at about 7% in the following years.
“The Vietnamese market is of your interest, where fundamental changes and a rapid increase in purchasing power on the basis of per capita income are happening. The size of Vietnam's GDP is close to 300 billion USD. The middle class accounts for 15% of the population and is making rapid growth, creating a market with an attractive retail development index that ranks sixth globally according to A.T.Kearney. By 2025, 49% of the population will live in urban areas; the proportion of high-income households will increase by nearly 25%”, Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang commented and believed that the Vietnamese market was large enough for successful French business plans.
Vietnam is one of the 10 countries possessing the highest internet users globally with 61 million regular users. In addition, with a young and dynamic population, Vietnam gives highest priority to developing a digital economy based on innovation. The scale of Vietnam's digital economy has reached USD 12 billion in 2019 and is expected to increase to USD 43 billion by 2025 with potential areas such as e-commerce, online tourism, online media, etc. This is an opportunity for French technology enterprises to invest in the fields applying achievements of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 through cooperation, financial support and collaboration with domestic partners.
Vietnam continues its steadfast international integration policy and has signed 12 free trade agreements. Vietnam has also participated in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and is considered to be the country that takes full advantage of the Agreement. This Agreement has high and comprehensive standards, is an important legal assurance, reduces risks for investment and business plans in Vietnam.
Vietnam has signed 18 bilateral agreements with France in all areas, such as investment, tourism, maritime, science and technology, health, justice. For the European Union, Vietnam is the second ASEAN country (after Singapore) and the first developing country in Asia to sign the Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), opening more opportunities for Vietnamese and French investors to penetrate each other's market. With the commitment to eliminate almost all import tariff lines agreed by both sides, the opportunities for Vietnam and the EU member countries will be realized sustainably and effectively.
In 2018, Vietnam celebrated 30 years of attracting foreign investment and so far, has attracted nearly 360 billion USD of total registered capital from 132 countries and territories, Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang said. Along with the process of economic development, reform of growth model, foreign investment projects in recent years have had positive changes, rising to the higher positions in the value chain, with highly added value and technological content. In particular, the linkage among domestic enterprises is gradually formed in the global supply chain.
Vietnam had issued the Politburo's Resolution No. 50/NQ-TW dated August 20, 2019, on the orientation to perfecting institutions, policies, improving quality and effectiveness of foreign investment cooperation towards 2030, Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang said. At the same time, Vietnam also moved to a new phase of "foreign investment cooperation", showing a new point of equality, mutual benefit, proactiveness, oriented cooperation and upholding the investors’ responsibility. The foreign-invested economic sector was identified as an "important component" of Vietnam's economy, encouraged and facilitated to develop in the long term, cooperate and compete fairly with other economic sectors.
The attraction and cooperation of foreign investment will be carried out in an "active and selective" manner, taking quality, efficiency, technology and environmental protection as the main evaluation criteria. The strategy of foreign investment cooperation in the coming time will prioritize projects with advanced technology, new technology, high technology, clean technology, modern administration, highly added value, viral impact, connecting with global production and supply chains.
In order to realize this Strategy, the Government of Vietnam is finalizing and submitting to the National Assembly for consideration, amendment and approval of draft Investment Law, Enterprise Law, and Public Private Partnership (PPP) Law. These Laws are amended and drafted in the direction of creating a favorable, transparent, competitive legal framework in line with international practices in order to effectively attract quality FDI projects, and formulating special preferential policies for strategic investment projects for Vietnam's development.
In order to improve the competitiveness of the national investment environment and improve the quality of foreign investment, Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang said that Vietnam would continue to do the followings: Build and perfect the legal system to ensure openness, transparency and consistency; Simplify tax procedures, customs, etc.; Focus on training and improving the quality of human resource, especially skilled and professional workers, gradually reducing reliance on the advantages of "cheap labor"; Upgrade the infrastructure system, improve the connection among regions and localities of Vietnam; Promote supportive solutions, develop supporting industries, gradually increase the domestic supply proportion and develop the domestic value chain.
In the context of complicated trade tensions between countries, global and regional supply chains being strongly restructured, Vietnam encourages investment from France, promoting comprehensive cooperation from developing brands, production and markets in the value chain, enhancing and combining the strengths of each country, particularly, in the fields of aviation industry, manufacturing and processing industries, supporting industry, new materials - precision engineering, agriculture - food processing, energy, infrastructure development, environment, smart cities, healthcare, biology, equitization of state-owned enterprises, etc.
Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang affirmed that the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam committed to continue its focal role, leading the process of improving the investment environment, creating all favorable conditions for French businesses to invest and operate successfully and efficiently.
The seminar took place openly and proactively. French enterprises introduced about their achievements gained in the process of investment and business cooperation in Vietnam, trade cooperation and investment projects in the future, and proposed measures to facilitate and enhance cooperation between the two business communities. Vietnamese and French businesses expressed their strong support and belief in the opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in the context of the signed EVFTA and EVIPA agreements.
French and Vietnamese investors also highly appreciated Vietnam's achievements in socio-economic development, especially its institutional and policy openness and breakthroughs. Along with that, there were good signals on the growth of bilateral trade turnover, which was constantly increasing. Furthermore, the cooperation and investment relations among enterprises of the two countries were also developing positively./.
Ministry of Planning and Investment