Vietnamese companies want to compete with foreign peers with their own resources, not with the government’s protectionism.
Vietnam now possesses all conditions that it needed a decade ago to bring in foreign investors, Mr. Hung said at the Vietnam Global Investment Forum in Hanoi on September 30, citing economic stability, locals’ low leverage and income per capita of 2,200 USD.
Foreign investors can partner with Vietnamese businesses to provide products in Vietnam as the nation’s purchasing power parity is around 5,000 USD per capital.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) will open up opportunities for Vietnamese companies to export their products without protectionism,” Mr. Hung said, adding that domestic firms have grown up thanks partly to overseas capital inflow.
Planning and Investment Minister Bui Quang Vinh told participants that Vietnam will pursue the full market status, integrate more deeply into the global economy and accept risks of joining many free-trade agreements (FTAs). On joining FTAs, “Vietnam wants to play on the same field with foreign investors”.
Le Phuoc Vu, chairman of Hoa Sen Group, the top steel sheet producer in the country, commented that although multilateral and bilateral FTAs will open up opportunities, Vietnamese firms are concerned about their impact. “The Vietnamese will be autonomous if it is developed by local firms. Foreign direct investment is abundant but it is oversized and takes away opportunities of Vietnamese enterprises, which makes the Vietnamese business community unease”, he noted.
Eric Sidgwick, Asian Development Bank country director for Vietnam, said Vietnamese companies do not possess as many advantages as foreign peers when the country takes part in TPP and FTAs. Thus they have to make their own way to become more competitive in a globalized environment.