NEW YORK — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính had a roundtable with CEOs from world-leading firms and investment funds listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during a visit there on May 16.
In the opening address, PM Chính said global instabilities had impacted both Việt Nam and the US, requiring the companies to help address the challenges.
Việt Nam in recent times had strived to keep macroeconomic conditions under control, including exchange rates, inflation and interest rates, as well as budget revenues and expenditure balances, food security, imports and exports.
Việt Nam is currently in serious need of developing a healthy, sustainable securities and bonds market, according to the Prime Minister.
The PM also informed the company executives of the implementation of the recovery package worth four per cent of the national GDP, with focus priorities being the reopening of the economy in association with raising healthcare capacity and pandemic response, ensuring social welfare and creating jobs, support for businesses, investing into infrastructures, and improving institutions and business environment.
Leaders of Amphenol Corporation, who manufacture electronic equipment for supply to Boeing, Apple and Tesla, said that they wanted to switch their production lines to Việt Nam and asked the PM for more information on the Government’s measures to attract investment in the processing and manufacturing industry. The leader of Amphenol Corporation added that he travelled to Việt Nam when he was 20 years old and had a personal fondness for the country and its cuisine.
In response, PM Chính said Việt Nam had carried out significant reforms since 1986 with the three main pillars – cutting back on red tape, implementing multi-ownership and international integration.
To attract international investors, the PM stressed the principle of “straightforwardness, trust, responsibility” and “harmonised benefits, shared risks,” between the two sides.
Việt Nam was also bettering its institutions and legal framework to match its international commitments, including the 15 free trade agreements (FTAs) that Việt Nam had signed, which include the most developed economies in the world.
The country was also focusing on developing infrastructure, including digital transformation (e-Government, digital society, and digital economy), transport, energy and healthcare to lure in direct and indirect investors.
Việt Nam was committed to building a stable and open business and investment environment, with administrative procedures handled quickly and effectively and transparently, he noted.
The country was also enjoying a high level of political and social stability, including the successful control of COVID-19, that investors could be reassured when doing business in Việt Nam.
A representative of Herbalife noted that Việt Nam was among the five-six fastest developing markets, and was one of the focus countries in the company’s growth plan with very positive prospects.
The company appreciated the Vietnamese Government’s efforts to collect input and feedback from businesses in the development of legal documents and policies and wanted to inquire more about what the companies could do to assist the Government.
In response, the PM said the Vietnamese Government attached great importance to the gathering of opinions from people and businesses, including foreign enterprises, for example, in the development of the draft power master plan.
In the development phase, other than State resources, the resources from the private sector and foreign enterprises would be critically needed and mobilised via a public-private partnership, PM Chính said.
In response to Deutsche Bank’s question on the support from the Vietnamese Government in helping businesses to successfully list on foreign stock markets, including the NYSE, PM Chính said the Government had the responsibility to assist Vietnamese enterprises to grow in a sustainable, healthy and legal manner.
In the context of a fast-changing world, all Government directions and policies needed to quickly adapt to these adjustments to create the best environment for the companies, he noted, but on the other hand, the businesses themselves needed to always try their best to create a reputation domestically and overseas, actively cooperate with foreign businesses, including US businesses to expand their capacity and operations.
The businesses would also need to focus on research and development, application of new technology and diversifying supply chains.
PM Chính noted that many Vietnamese businesses had set up their presence in the US such as Vietcombank, FPT, and Vinfast and they needed the support and cooperation of local businesses.
Goldman Sachs, the leading global investment management firm, wanted to know more about the cap of foreign ownership in banking sectors, as well as the access to and usage of foreign currencies.
In this regard, PM said Việt Nam was directing ministries to study and perfect the legal framework for investment in the banking sector, enhancing the transparency of banking operations, and improving the management in line with international practices.
However, he remarked frankly that the approach of a developing economy like Việt Nam “cannot possibly resemble that of developed economies like Japan, South Korea or the US.”
“We have limitations on infrastructures, institutions and policies, and we are also inexperienced, so our approach will be cautious and gradually changes as we learn more, without rushing. This is beneficial to both investors and Việt Nam itself, and I hope investors could be understanding of this,” PM Chính said.
With that being said, PM Chính underlined that Việt Nam wanted to create trust and secure opportunities in business, and not cause trouble or worries for investors.
He said Việt Nam was always open to foreign investors in emerging sectors such as securities, energy transition, digital transformation, healthcare, and biopharmaceuticals.
In the discussion with the CEO of a Vietnamese carmaker, who is seeking to list on the US stock market in a couple of years with electric vehicle ambitions, PM Chính said it would be important that the company respects US laws and business cultures, closely watches the market and learns from the lessons it had from the domestic market and US partners, and commits to digital transformation and technology innovation.
He noted that the investment into EVs was a decision that meets the global trend, but the shift needed to be much more robust, with a focus on diversification of supply chains.
Earlier in the day, PM visited the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and rang the bell to finish the Monday’s trading session.
PM asked the NYSE to cooperate and share experience in making an effective stock market in Việt Nam as well as the country’s ambition to be a regional-level financial centre, foster the win-win partnership between NYSE and Vietnamese agencies and companies, contributing to the development of the US-Việt Nam comprehensive partnership. — VNS
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