Viet Nam, Germany target US$20b bilateral trade

Friday, Jul 07, 2017 15:29

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc addressed the Viet Nam-Germany Business Forum in Berlin on July 6. — VNA/VNS Photo Thong Nhat

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed hope that Germany, as the largest economy and an influential member of the European Union (EU), will help attract global resources into Viet Nam.

Addressing the Viet Nam-Germany Business Forum in Berlin on Thursday, which saw the participation of nearly 600 German firms and 100 Vietnamese partners, the PM said that after the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2011, Germany has become Viet Nam’s top trade partner in the EU. The countries’ two-way trade hit US$9 billion in 2016, which makes up 20 per cent of all Viet Nam-EU trade.

Both sides vowed to increase two-way trade to $20 billion from the current $14 billion.

Twenty-eight co-operation documents valued at around 1.5 billion euros were signed at the event.

Phuc said major German businesses such as Siemens, Mercedes and Deutsche Bank had invested $1.8 billion in Viet Nam.

The Viet Nam-Germany University (VGU) in the southern province of Binh Duong and several schools opened by German businesses in HCM City are helping Viet Nam improve the quality of its workforce and deal with issues in energy, transport, environment resources, urban planning and sustainable development, according to the Prime Minister.

Since the opening of the Goethe Institute in Ha Noi in 1997, bilateral cultural exchanges have also strengthened. More than 100,000 Vietnamese students have graduated from German universities. The country is particularly keen to attract resources in mechanical engineering, automation, vocational training and tertiary education.

Talking about the country’s economy, the PM said Viet Nam’s gross domestic product (GDP) had grown by more than 6 per cent annually for 30 consecutive years, and rising 6.21 per cent to $220 billion in 2016. With increasing consumption and the rise of average per capita income to nearly $2,300, Viet Nam’s trade value is roughly $400 billion, about 1.6 times higher than its GDP.

The country has 23,160 foreign-invested projects from 120 countries and territories, worth around $320 billion, many of them from German corporations.

The PM stressed on the fact that Viet Nam’s business climate had improved, and is up nine places from 91st to 82nd among the 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings 2016-17. The World Economic Forum ranked Viet Nam 60th of 138 countries in competitiveness.

Viet Nam had signed 12 free trade agreements, as part of its global integration commitment, Phuc pointed out. It had cleared barriers in many sectors, including services, telecommunications and finance-banking, by raising foreign ownership caps or selling state-owned enterprises’ strategic stakes.

It is now working to waive licences to open securities accounts for foreign investors and clear capital control measures, which are contrary to international practices, according to the Prime Minister. The domestic banking system is also being restructured to meet modern banking standards, in line with international practices.

Mergers and acquisitions have been sped up in infrastructure, transport, airport, highway, seaport, electricity, telecommunications, food, agriculture and services.

The PM used the platform to speak of businesses that are leading Asian trademarks, such as Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Petrolimex, Vinamilk, Masan, TH Truemilk, Trung Nguyen coffee, Mobiphone and Vietcombank, among others.

Phuc believed that Germany’s experience in technology and governance would help Viet Nam during the fourth industrial revolution.

Viet Nam hoped the country would encourage German investment in the support industry, as well as in joint ventures in renewable energy such as solar and wind energy.

German firms said they hoped the Vietnamese government would continue fine-tuning laws and improving the business climate. The German House project in HCM City and the VGU were a strong driving force for bilateral economic-trade ties.

In her speech, Brigitte Zypries, Germany’s federal economic affairs and energy minister, hailed Viet Nam for its vibrant growth and its large, young workforce. She affirmed that Germany would be always a partner that Viet Nam could trust.

After the forum, the PM met executives of several German corporations and banks and expressed hope that they would soon set up operations in Viet Nam. — VNS

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