HCM CITY — HCM City has called on foreign-owned enterprises to further contribute to its development by sharing their experience, ideas and technologies as well as investing in large projects.
Speaking at a meeting between city leaders and executives from foreign companies in HCM City last Saturday, Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, Secretary of the city Party Committee, said the city’s economy expanded by 8.3 per cent last year to VNĐ1,330 trillion (US$57 billion).
It had attracted $7.39 billion worth of FDI, up 15 per cent and accounting for 22 per cent of the country’s total to remain the leader.
“The city deeply appreciates the contributions of foreign-invested companies to its socio-economic development.”
Over the years the city had made efforts to improve its investment climate, resolve difficulties faced by enterprises and foster innovation and start-ups and business development, he said.
But it was also facing challenges amid the fourth industrial revolution, he said.
“Việt Nam has not kept pace with Industry 4.0 trends. Therefore, we need solutions to quickly and actively exploit the opportunities [it] brings.
“Promoting the application and development of technologies and human development are extremely necessary for both businesses and the city.”
Many foreign business groups described HCM City as dynamic and a destination drawing foreign investors’ interest.
But they also said to attract foreign capital for rapid and sustainable development, the city has to address problems related to policy, infrastructure, human resources, and others.
Amanda Rasmussen, chairwoman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (AmCham), said, providing foreign investors with a “level playing field” would attract more investors in the future.
“Frequent retroactive changes in laws and regulations, including those related to tax rates and policies, are significant risks for foreign investors here in Việt Nam.
“These changes are affecting investment in business plans at already licensed projects. AmCham recommends that the Government should consider instructions on investment protection to prevent negative and retroactive effects of new laws and regulations on existing projects.”
Michele D’Ercole, the chairman of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (ICham), said the city should pay more attention to training human resources to make it more attractive for foreign high-tech investors, carry out comprehensive administrative reforms, create a sound and consistent legal environment, and give priority in allocating land for projects producing key industrial products.
Italian businesses were increasingly considering investing or moving their existing facilities from other Asian countries to Việt Nam, mainly HCM City, he said.
This was happening thanks to the city’s significant reform of many sectors such as foodstuff, apparel, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, and specifically culture and tourism, in which Italy has advantages, he said.
Matthew Lourey, president of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (AusCham), said investors were disappointed with the worsening traffic congestion and delay in building the urban railway.
Investment in the city would be affected if these problems were not fixed, he said.
Tomosa Andreatta, deputy chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam, also urged the city to speed up infrastructure works, develop a public transport system and relocate seaports to outside the city to reduce traffic congestion.
Delegates also called on the city to focus on green development by increasing the use of green energy, improving air quality and reducing emissions.
Nhân said the city would this year focus on solutions to boost economic development.
They include removing hurdles to speed up work on infrastructure projects such as the urban railway Nos.1 and 2, continuing equitisation of State-owned enterprises, developing the city into a regional financial hub and a smart city, building a new 300ha industrial park for technology firms, and achieving a breakthrough in administrative reforms, he said.
He also announced a list of 255 projects seeking investment, 245 of them social projects.
“I call on FDI enterprises with their experience …to take part in large projects the city has focused on in the 2015-20 period.”
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the city sought to implement its policies better and build a competitive investment environment in accordance to international standards and commitments under free trade agreements.
The event, which had the theme “Harness the Resources, Shape the Future”, attracted foreign businesses groups and nearly 200 foreign companies operating in HCM City. — VNS