ASEAN's investment in Vietnam below potential

Posted on 10 August 2007

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung today begins his visit to five member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore.


This is the first official visit to ASEAN countries by PM Nguyen Tan Dung and is also a visit under the routine of this organisation. The visit is more meaningful since it happens at the same time as the 40th anniversary of ASEAN


Vietnam and the five member countries of ASEAN, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, and Brunei, have developed cooperative relations in various fields. The visit by PM Nguyen Tan Dung aims to strengthen and promote those relations, especially in the fields of economics, trade and investment.


At present, all ASEAN member nations have invested in Vietnam, except for Myanmar. According to statistics of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), among ASEAN member countries, Singapore has the most investment in Vietnam with 474 projects and US$9.07 billion of investment capital, ranking second among 78 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.


Following Singapore is Malaysia with 219 projects, $1.7 billion of capital, ranking 10th; the Philippines, with 30 projects worth $247 million; Indonesia, 14 projects worth $137 million; and Brunei, with 37 projects worth $125 million.


Singaporean investors are involved in most economic sectors of Vietnam, from oil and gas exploration and exploitation to industrial production and fisheries, agricultural and forestry processing. However, they are most keen on the service field, with 207 projects totalling $5.5 billion of investment, accounting for 60.7% of the total registered capital, followed by industry and construction with 230 projects and $3.3 billion, accounting for 36.4%; agriculture-forestry-fisheries with 37 projects and $254 million of capital.


Many Singporean-invested projects are running very effectively, including the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Zone, a joint venture between the Trade and Investment Company and the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park Pte.Ltd (VSIP), with total investment of more than $139.1 million. The Vietnamese side holds 49% of capital and the Singaporean partner, 51%.


Malaysia is one of the ten top countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Malaysian projects mainly focus on industry with 140 projects worth $1.19 billion of registered capital, followed by services with 47 projects worth $336 million and agriculture-forestry-fisheries with 32 projects worth $208 million.


However, investment into Vietnam by Malaysia is below the potential for cooperation between the two countries. Most Malaysian-invested projects in Vietnam are small ones.


Investment from the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei into Vietnam is also quite modest.


According to the Foreign Investment Agency under the MPI, the Philippines currently has 30 projects worth $247 million of registered capital in Vietnam, $85.9 million of which has been disbursed. This country’s projects are mainly in the field of industry with 14 projects and $157.4 million, accounting for 63.5% of total investment capital, and agriculture with 8 projects worth $88.8 million. The service sector accounts for a small amount of capital with 8 projects and $855,000 only.


Indonesia has 13 projects in Vietnam totalling $130 million, including 11 projects in industry worth $73.8 million (accounting for 56% of total capital), three in services worth $63.7 million, and no project in agriculture.


Brunei invests in 37 projects worth $125 million. Like the two above countries, Brunei’s investment focuses on industry with 31 projects and $116 million, accounting for 92% of the total capital. Agriculture and services account for a small proportion with five projects and $9.6 million for agriculture and one project worth $120,000 in services.


To further attract investment from ASEAN countries, especially potential partners, Vietnamese authorities are checking and classifying projects from ASEAN to create suitable supportive measures.


For example, Vietnam gives priority to accelerating the implementation of Singaporean projects. The Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam and the Singaporean Economic Development Agency are adjusting the rapid agreement mechanism on granting investment certificates.


In the relations with Malaysia, the two governments have approved the establishment of an agency to support Malaysian-invested projects that have investment certificates already but are facing difficulties in operation.


Vietnam plans to attract Malaysian investment in oil and gas, metallurgy, chemicals, hotels and new residential area construction, timber processing, food processing, aquaculture and seafood processing, education and training, including short-term vocational training for labourers to be exported to Malaysia.


Regarding investment partners, besides Malaysian companies, Vietnam wants to attract big groups investing in Malaysia to come to Vietnam in an effort to bring Vietnam into the production system of multinational companies in the region.


Another measure that is being performed to promote investment cooperation between Vietnam and ASEAN member countries is encouraging and assisting the investment of Vietnamese companies in ASEAN countries through diplomatic representative agencies of Vietnam in ASEAN nations in the forms of workshops, information exchanges and organising business visits.


BVOM, August 10, 2007

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